January 3, 2023
Godalming Delights lives up to its name as one of our favourite neighbours on Church Street and always a total delight to visit. With its mix of retro sweeties and confectionery, ice cream, milkshakes, Barista coffee and all kinds of other indulgent sweet treats, it’s a world of pure imagination. We had a chat to Company Director Ewen Macnair to find out more about this sweetest of local shops...
How and when did Godalming Delights come about?
Godalming Delights is a family run business. My sister, Gillian Akroyd, opened our original shop, Shere Delights, 10 years ago. Gillian had worked in banking before and this was a way to find a more work/life balance. The shop turned out to be more successful than she’d ever anticipated. I’d been working overseas and, looking to return, she invited me to step into the business with a view to seeing if it had ‘legs and arms’ to grow. It did! We started looking at locations to complement Shere and we settled on Godalming. Five years later, our family business is thriving!
What is it you loved about Godalming?
There’s a sense of community in Godalming and running a business here during the pandemic really showed it. As well as the local small and independent business community pulling together, we were able to provide a bit of a lifeline by putting our Truly Scrumptious Delights online with delivery both locally and throughout the UK. Especially helpful for lockdown gifting when people were unable to see loved ones in person. Our gift boxes and other gift options were a sweet hug, well received.
Of course, Godalming is a beautiful town too with a historic feel. Our 2 Church Street premises pretty much perfectly fits our idea of customer experience. It’s a Georgian listed building that sits on the curve of the road in what used to be a tiny pub called The Skinners Arms. People tell us they come to Godalming just visit to our shop, which is lovely!
Who is your typical customer?
We have a total mix of customers. Some come as an occasional treat, some pop in daily, others even more than that! We offer something for everyone – young and old alike – and it’s the ideal place for a family outing with retro sweeties for kids and an extra special coffee or ice cream for grown-ups.
What are you particularly known for?
We have four main product offers: An amazing chocolate selection; hot drinks; retro sweeties and ice cream. Everything we sell is top quality with natural provenance and nothing but the best ingredients. We focus on ethical sourcing and brand heritage. Although we’re not a coffee shop, I still say we serve the best coffee in Godalming – Illy – with the best barista equipment and skills training to ensure a perfect cup. And our Hot Chocolate is not to be missed – It’s made with French 33% cacao.
Our Ice cream is made for us by a pair of Argentinian / Italian brothers who have their own Ice cream Parlour, and, we’re in good company because they also supply to one of the most prestigious stores in London. Our flavours feature the finest ingredients – our best-selling chocolate Ice cream is made from single source cacao from the Congo with proceeds going to help protect the last remaining Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga Park. Our Honeycomb Ice cream is made using honey from the City bee hives of the London Honey Company located on London rooftops.
And tell us more about the sweets…
We sell over 100 varieties of retro sweeties, all presented in glass jars. Everything we sell is handpicked to be the very best tasting you can buy – but even if someone pops in with just £1 or even less to spend, we’ll make sure they find something to suit their budget. We’ve a fantastic choice from classics like Jelly Babies to ever populars like Giant Strawberries and, my personal favourite? Anything covered in chocolate!
You’re known for your visual displays at Halloween and Christmas. How do you come up with the ideas for those?
We have our very own Brand Manager – Estelle of est. Creative who designed our brand concept and guides our overall look. Each shop comes up with its own displays and we use a wonderful local window artist @agaskiba.art twice a year to paint our windows freehand.
What are your favourite things about being in Godalming?
Music in the Park is a summer season of live music at the bandstand in the Phillips Memorial Park. With all kinds of amateur and professional bands and performers to choose from, the free concerts run at the weekends all the way from the end of May until September. There are also some fantastic community events run by Godalming Town Council, culminating in the annual Town Christmas Lights switch on. Apparently, the original lights were bought with the proceeds from Godalming’s use as a location in the filming of the movie 'The Holiday'.
Can you share some of your other favourite businesses in Godalming town centre
We’ve teamed up with West Stanton for some great joint ventures, including this year for Halloween. It’s a destination lifestyle store, big on style and conscience, selling independent toys, books, clothes, gifts, blankets… Lots of nice to have and essentials for life with kids. To be honest, all the Church Street businesses work hard at what they do – Wattle & Daub, The Salon, which champions sustainable, biodynamic haircare, and then there’s The Star, which is a proper traditional pub – my favourite in Godalming!