Candy’s a hit on the Market

A STALYBRIDGE baker is proving a huge hit to a much less local audience after landing a stall on Manchester’s Christmas Market.

Candice Bannister landed a plum plot on Piccadilly Gardens as the attraction, which sees tens of thousands of people visit each year, revisited.

And the impact of her brilliant bakes has not gone unnoticed with customers queuing up to sample her creations.

Candice Bannister

“I’d always wanted to come on the Christmas market in Manchester,” said Candice, who is based on Cheetham Hill Road.

“But I thought it was unachievable, as if it was a bit of a dream.

“However, after working with Growth Hub – who help you do things like grow your business – I had it as one of my goals, but that was before Covid-19.

“Last year, the markets weren’t on as such, so this year I thought, ‘Go for it.’

“It was a long process, you have to apply to get a stall. Then it’s all up in the air and I didn’t find out until two weeks before the markets started that I’d got one.

The stall at Manchester Christmas markets

“Thankfully, I’d pre-empted things by getting staff in place just in case. It was still a mad dash but I had in my head what I wanted in place.

“I’ve got my name in lights, literally, and I didn’t anticipate how popular the ‘Cake In a Jar’ would be. I had to rearrange the stall! We’ve sold loads of them.”

Candice started what she describes as ‘a little bit of a hobby on the side’ from her own kitchen after having children following an 11-year career in housing.

Things grew to employing her first member of staff in 2020 then after a brief reflection, she launched as an online shop.

And while many businesses have suffered financially because of Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns, Candy’s bucked that trend.

To the point where her husband is now a full-time staff member.

More people at home means more people wanting cakes as Candice added: “Because of lockdown, the business has expanded rapidly as we ship nationwide from online orders.“Everyone was stuck at home ordering cakes for things like birthdays and they‘ve realised that shopping online at home is way more convenient. They could just order from us and it was delivered the next day.

“Things have carried on in that vein.”

If weather is anything to go by as a sign of how things would go, it raining on the opening day was not the greatest start.

And some people still needed reminding the main hub is now at Piccadilly Gardens and not Albert Square because of work on the Town Hall.

However, Candice admitted its new location bring some benefits, saying: “We’re getting a lot of passing trade, a lot of footfall. It’s worked out well.

“One of my old school art teachers popped by one day too!”

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