SCOTLAND’S oldest sweet store is facing the toughest challenge in its 191-year history – the cost of living crisis.
But owner Liz Crossley-Davies, 51, can only charge £2 for a bag of the world-famous treats she makes by hand.
And the real life Willy Wonka revealed that some customers still moan about her prices.
But the mum vowed to keep the shop, which was a favourite of Peter Pan author JM Barrie, going whatever happens.
She said: “The shop just has to survive. It’s far too important to the community. There is absolutely no way it’s closing on my watch.
“I’ve seen a big difference in costs and outgoings. Stress levels are a little bit higher than they used to be.
“But it’s a labour of love. I wouldn’t be here if I had to make a fortune. It just wouldn’t happen. The price point is too low.”
The sweet shop is thought to be one of the oldest in the UK and first opened its doors in 1833
Stonemason David Ferguson needed a way to make a living after an accident almost left him blind so he came up with the Star Rock sweets.
They’re still made to the same recipe as they were back then, and made in the same kitchen.
Liz became the 14th owner when she took over in 2018 and tried to expand by starting a website and shipping treats all over the globe.
But it’s the locals who keep her going. She said: “People have come in here their whole lives.
“It’s a tradition that’s passed down through the generations.
“That’s why the shop survives. The local people keep it going. They’ve always had the shop.”
The shop is such a vital part of the town that the chemist sends people there to buy horehound sweets.
They’re thought to be the perfect way to soothe sore throats.
Liz said: “The place runs on those sweets during winter. I make about 4.5 kilos a week.
“I’m the only person in the UK who still makes them so our supplier stopped sending the oil to us during lockdown. I had to find a new one in Serbia. That was a bit of a crisis.”
Liz puts in long hours behind the counter and revealed she broke her foot just by standing.
She was forced to take a break after she was diagnosed with a pressure fracture.
But despite being the owner of the historic business Liz reckons she’s just another little part of its history,
She said: “I see myself as a custodian. I’m only here to look after the place for a while and then pass it on.
“I’ll teach someone else the recipe for the Star Rock and then they’ll take over.”
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Regular customer Bill McCrae, 94, said: “The shop is very important to us.
“As soon as we see it’s open we’re in. We’re all hooked on the sweets and we keep coming back time after time.”