Toffee Smiths est. 1900
Toffee Smiths was originally established circa 1900, when Mr Walter ‘Toffee’ Smith, began making and selling penny toffees at the gates of local coal mines to the working miners, to raise funds for his local methodist church. The miners nicknamed him Toffee Smith and so the story of the shop began.
Having started the business with toffee, it wasn't long before Walter began a cottage industry, from the cellar of his home, and then moving to a factory where boiled sweets too, were soon produced.
During the First World War, the factory was taken over for making ammunition. Toffee Smiths continued on afterwards and through World War II, when at this time it was kept going by Walter's brother-in-law, Edgar in the cellar of their house in Gomersal. Edgar eventually took over and the business was passed from father to son, Jeffrey Wilkinson.
Toffee Smiths grew from strength to strength and had soon established shops and stalls across West Yorkshire, before opening a stall in the prestigious Halifax Borough Market in the late 1960's.
Again, passed through the generations, the Halifax shop was handed to Vicki, Jeffrey's daughter - both pictured in front of the first Toffee Smiths van. Vicki ran the stall for 48 years along with her husband Rodney, until their retirement at the end of 2018.
The final factory purchased by the family, where boiled sweets, toffees and fudge are made, is named Thornes and is located in Heckmondwyke. It is still within the family and operational to this day and we are proud to say that we have kept our ties with the family and the factory and continue to work together today.
Toffee Smiths Today
Today, the shop takes pride of place in the centre of Halifax Borough Market and is owned and managed by Sean Sutcliffe.
Back in 2018, Sean was looking to get away from the monotony of motorway life and as a close friend of Vicki and Rodney, their retirement and their well-known, local shop, presented the perfect opportunity.
Taking over in January 2019, Sean began the new journey as the proprietor of Toffee Smiths.
The shop is run entirely by family, with wife Helen, working behind the scenes, and all three sons helping out - Zak in particular, having started as a Saturday boy back in 2017 with Vicki and Rodney, still working regularly between university studies.
Sean says, ''We are extremely proud of what we have achieved in a short space of time but in no way dismiss the importance of the historic market, this shop and the place of Toffee Smiths in the town of Halifax. We intend to secure a great and wide future for our business, but one which will always befit its well-known and much loved, local past.''