Five minutes with...Jarrod Burke
Jarrod Burke, 22, is the founder of Randalls, a collection of American candy & grocery stores across Leicestershire & Northamptonshire. Jarrod grew up and lives in Market Harborough.
When & why did you start Randalls?
I was a huge fan of American candy stores, but the products I found in and around Leicester were expensive and as a student they just weren’t affordable. In October 2015, at the age of 18, I found a wholesaler and (with some difficulty!) managed to get an account, and it went from there.
The aim for Randalls was to make these products much more affordable, and I initially intended for the brand to be a sideline project alongside my full time job. I quickly realised there was a huge demand for it when my first order of stock sold out very quickly. I quit my job and Randalls was born!
Where does the name come from?
Randall is actually my middle name, and it was my Mum’s maiden name. A lot of people say it sounds very American which is a bonus, I guess!
How many shops do you own?
We currently have 3 shops in Kettering, Market Harborough & the most recent is Northampton.
Did you face any difficulties in the beginning?
When I opened the Market Harborough shop, I soon realised that I needed to invest in a better till and system to help me use my time efficiently. I was also very nervous that we wouldn’t have any customers, but there was a queue as soon as we opened and we’ve been busy ever since!
Who is a typical Randalls customer?
That’s a hard one! To be honest there is no typical customer, we have school children, retired expats and everything in between. We get a lot of customers in their mid-thirties who come in for nostalgic products that used to be sold in the UK, such as Dentyne cinnamon gum.
What are your most popular brands?
Our top 6 most popular brands are definitely Reeses, Oreos, Jolly Rancher, M&Ms, Hershey’s & Fanta. We stock loads more brands though including Pringles, Coffee Mate, Mike and Ike, Swedish Fish & Skittles.
What’s your best selling product?
Airheads which are a chewy candy bar. Blue raspberry is the favourite as it makes your tongue turn blue. We also stock a ‘mystery’ flavour, so you never know what you’re going to get!
What’s your most unusual product that you sell?
A while back we had a few crates of Crystal Pepsi - a limited edition drink which is completely clear yet still tastes exactly like Pepsi. It sold out within 3 hours and we had to limit it to 2 per customer. We also sell Jolly Rancher Hotties, which have a ‘hot’ twist on the usual flavours such as Cherry Habanero and Blue Raspberry Sriracha.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Having lots of freedom is probably the best thing, and I love talking to customers everyday and getting to know their buying habits. I really do enjoy it all and to me it doesn’t feel like work.
What are your future plans for Randalls?
I really want to focus on growing the brand in the existing shops, and we’re working on getting our website up and running - there’s a huge online demand from people who don’t live locally. We also have a collaboration with Sinple Treats coming soon - so watch this space!