Pennyworths Sweet Shop

From imminent closure to a thriving online business and another high street shop – all in less than a year

In February 2020, Pennyworths owner Jennie Crowhurst made a decision to start to wind down the high street sweetshop business she ran with her husband next to Truro Cathedral. Trading had become increasingly difficult since they opened the shop in 2009, and the lease was due for renewal.

When the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown struck, that decision seemed even more like the right one. But with an immediate need to sell their Easter stock, and keen to avoid waste, Jennie opened an eBay store to continue trading. And sales started to grow rapidly.

Named IRL to URL Winner at the eBay for Business Awards 2020, Pennyworths Sweetshop has become the comeback king. Whilst only trading on eBay since April, Pennyworths has already achieved Top Rated Seller status and developed a solid base of repeat customers.

Success with their eBay store has also transformed their confidence in the business.

They’ve renewed the lease on their Truro shop, adapting it to become Covid-secure and slowly working up to full-time trading. They’ve also filled an existing vacancy by employing a local person made redundant by the pandemic.

Most excitingly, they’ve taken out a lease on a second premises closer to their Dorset home. This second high street shop will also hold online stock, allowing them to sell a wider range of products in their eBay store. 

Jennie’s story shows that growing online can also support the high street. “If every online business could use a high street premises to grow from,” she says, “imagine the change that that could make.

“From starting 2020 expecting that Pennyworths would no longer exist by the end of the year, we will now have two retail premises and the beginnings of a thriving online business. eBay has played a huge part in that.”

Award judge Victoria Bischoff was won over by Pennyworths’ incredible comeback tale. “To go from preparing to close, to opening a second shop and launching a successful online store is a truly inspiring story, and a beacon of hope for other businesses struggling to survive,” she said.


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