We visit the hidden gem sweet shop inside a garden shed in Bristol

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It’s possibly the quirkiest sweet shop you’ll find

Sometimes you have to see things to believe them.

Last week, Bristol World received a message from a reader on an ‘old school’ sweet shop which had opened inside a back garden shed in Brislington - and it simply begged a visit, especially from this sweet-toothed author.

So, after checking the opening times of MA Candy (11am to 7pm), we set out to find this family-run business located off Hungerford Road; a well-known rat-run which avoids the busy Bath Road.

And on arrival, you can’t miss it. Brightly coloured balloons hang outside the shed which is accessed via an open double gate from the road. The shed also has a pink sign with the shop name, above a smaller sign warning people to ‘mind your head’ as they enter!

Outside, husband and wife, Mike and Alison Hazzard, offer a warm welcome inside their sweet shop. The pair, both with coloured dyed hair, are evidently proud of their creation - and so they should be.

Mike, aged 52, left his job as a security guard at Brislington Retail Park to start up the venture after his daughter Tyra, 17, came up with the idea of a coffee shop in the garden.

Mike Hazzard heads up the family sweet shop which is in a shed in a Brislington back gardenMike Hazzard heads up the family sweet shop which is in a shed in a Brislington back garden
Mike Hazzard heads up the family sweet shop which is in a shed in a Brislington back garden | Alex Ross

“We looked at the idea and it was far too much to do, so I thought ‘what about a sweet shop’, says Mike. “We had space at the end of the garden so we built a shed and quickly found the sweets to fill it up.

“It was risky, but what’s life without risks?”

MA Candy (’M’ is for Mike, ‘A’ is for Alison) was opened in November, with the couple’s three children - Sky, 23, Tyra and Iona, 14 - helping out.

Inside the shed, on a carpet floor, shelves line the walls. These are filled with jars of sweets - everything from retro Army Navy to cherry bomboms - ‘lucky dip’ bags of sweets, crisps, cakes and cans of pop.

Above, on the wooden ceiling, children have scawled their names. And above the till at the back, ‘BIG Mike’ has been written. Also behind the till is a line of sought-after Lemon Lime-flavoured Prime, which are selling for £6. Tropical Punch sold out last week, Mike says.

Alison, Mike, Tyra and Iona outside their sweet shop in a garden shedAlison, Mike, Tyra and Iona outside their sweet shop in a garden shed
Alison, Mike, Tyra and Iona outside their sweet shop in a garden shed | Alex Ross

So, how is it going? “We have busy days and quiet days - people love the fact we are here and it’s been a great way to get to know everyone, we’re enjoying running it,” says Mike.

And the most popular sweets? “The old fashioned sweets do very well. Army and Navy and Pineapple Rock sweets are our best-sellers. People like it when sweets bring back memories of when they were young,” says Mike.

What next? “Running a sweet shop at Glastonbury Festival would be the dream.” But for now, Mike will be taking the shop on tour to Westerleigh Village Fun Day on Saturday (June 10).

Meanwhile, families can continue to find his shop in the back garden of his home in Brislington - and it’s well worth a visit.