IT’S been dubbed “Wally Wonka’s” by Munster star Felix Jones and after just a week in business a new sweet shop opened by rugby legend, David Wallace, is going down a treat with the people of Limerick.
The former Munster and Ireland player who retired last May due to a persistent knee injury has tapped into his entrepreneurial side with the opening of Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in the Crescent Shopping Centre.
“I was on Dame Street up in Dublin where there is a Mr Simms and I just enquired about it because it seemed very busy and is an excellent shop as well,” David explained.
“I was passed on to Terry Dunne who has the Irish rights to it - he owns the Irish franchise – and it went from there.”
And just like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, the shop - which is located opposite Shaws department store - is a wonderland full of tempting treats.
“We have the Macaroon bars, Refreshers, Frosties – all these sweets that people remember from their childhood,” David explained.
In a bid to get a feel for what the people of Limerick would like to see in the store, David has been utilising the online social networking site, Twitter, asking his 23,900 followers: “what’s your fav sweet/bar from your childhood?”
“It’s a great bit of market research,” he explained. “Even last night when I was tweeting about it, everyone was transported back to their childhood and that’s the whole beauty of it, there is comfort there and nostalgia.”
One Dublin-based Leinster supporter put in a request for Peggy’s Leg and tweeted that he would be willing to drive to Limerick for them!
Even David’s former Munster and Ireland team-mates have showed their support with Jerry Flannery, Felix Jones, Brian O’Driscoll, Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip all serving up plenty of online banter.
“It’s great that the lads are tweeting about it,” said David who runs the shop with his wife, Alieen.
“Hopefully, we will stock the Irish team – Rala the bagman has a store of sweets so I’ll have to touch base with him and sort him out. He has a bit of sweet tooth like myself and the lads pop into him for their little sugar fix,” he joked.
And is there any particular sweet from David’s own school-days that he is delighted to have in stock?
“Do you know what I went looking for today and I actually found them is the Sherbet Fountains with the liquorice stick. That really brought me back.”
His own children Andrew, 4, and Harvey, 2, have been in the shop a couple of times and are, their dad said, “very happy with the whole situation”.
As well as bringing a smile to the faces of children and indeed adults, the shop is also providing work for 10 Limerick people.
“There are seven full-time and three part-time which is great in this day and age, all local as well.”
David is also a director of Schools Direct - which supplies school uniforms - and has confirmed that they are now working on a joint venture with Elverys Sports.
“We will have our own Schools Direct shops in the Elverys stores in Limerick, Charleville, Tralee and Waterford,” he explained.