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Owners of La dolce vita in Holsworthy celebrate their first anniversary

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

LA DOLCE VITA: Paddy and Joelle Hamill. Picture: Mike Southon Ref: BNMS20121127E-001_C Mike Southon

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SWEET dreams have literally come true for a Holsworthy trader.

One night Paddy Hamill had a dream about opening a sweet shop. Now he and his wife Joelle are celebrating the first anniversary of running the business.

Even though the couple had much of their Shebbear home ruined by floods early last month, they remain upbeat and excited about the future.

Having owned the coffee shop Filter Through in Holsworthy for seven years they decided to sell up for a slower pace of life.

Joelle, 56, said: "Paddy was quite ill. He had two heart attacks early on when we opened Filter Through.

"That business grew and grew, it was very demanding. We thought enough is enough, we can't keep going at that pace any longer."

Filter Though was sold to Trudi Barkwill and Jackie Mitchell, who had worked there since it opened.

Then Paddy came up with a new business venture.

Joelle said: "He said he had a dream about running a sweet shop. The more we thought about it the more possible it seemed. The rest, as they say, is history."

The pair say they have a slower pace of life now they run La dolce vita.

Joelle said: "This is something Paddy can do on his own. Lunchtimes and after school are our busiest times.

"Our 15-year-old son Ben often comes with us to the wholesalers. Lots of items he picked are some of our best sellers.

"The more revolting and sour the sweets are, the more children love them. We have pus balls, which are very popular.

"We hope the traditional sweets we sell bring back fond memories for our customers. We have tried nearly every sweet in store, although I don't like liquorice."

Not only do they sell old favourites such as pear drops and peanut brittle but they also stock Joe Delucci's sorbet and ice cream.

A new gift section has been added which features handmade crafts by local artists.

With the business going well, Joelle was shocked to discover 18 inches of flood water in their home.

She said: "The flooding was intense, it all happened in such a short space of time. I opened the door and saw my footprints in the mud.

"We have a 'keep calm and carry on' attitude. It has affected us but we just had to carry on as best we could."

The couple, who hope to return home in February next year, said the first year of their fledgling business has gone smoothly.

Joelle said: "Our first year has gone very well, better than we thought. As long as we break even and can pay the bills we are happy.

"Our Yorkshire Terrier Maisy has her own fan club, customers dote on her."

Paddy, 70, said: "We don't give customers the hard sell, that isn't necessary. I love it when people come in to chat, I really enjoy the social side.

"The shop has surpassed our expectations and is going from strength to strength."

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