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SWEET SUCCESS; SIX-YEAR-OLD MOLLIE OPENS HER THIRD SHOP.

SUCCESS is sweet for six-year-old Mollie Price after the tiny tycoon opened her third sweet shop.

The primary school pupil, of Welshpool, Powys, is the UK's youngest entrepreneur as she helps mum Becky run their three confectionery stores - named Mollie's.

Proud Becky said the budding businesswoman had gone from playing pick and mix shop games with her two older brothers to doing the real thing.

They opened their first store in Welshpool in November 2010 and set up another branch in Newtown a year later.

And now they have opened their latest shop in Shrewsbury - with Mollie deciding what goes on the shelves for their sweet-toothed customers. The youngster gets up at 5am every Sunday to join her mum for their weekly trip to suppliers in Birmingham where they buy new stock.

"She always comes along with me to the wholesalers. I do ask her what she likes and she helps us put all the sweets out," the 36-year-old told Wales on Sunday.

"She will pick up some of the sweets and say 'We've got to have these' and 'I like these' and we try them in the shop to see whether they will sell. If they go then we keep them, if they don't we take them out."

The stores sell traditional British sweets and American candy and all have two tin soldiers outside named Alfie and George, after Mollie's older brothers aged 13 and 11.

Becky said: "I always used to take the boys to Woolworths to have pick and mix. Mollie was only a baby when Woolworths closed down and the boys used to say you couldn't get it really anywhere else since it closed.

"It stemmed from there. The kids used to play shops with pick and mix using trays."

She added: "Mollie has always loved sweetshops whether it's drawing colourful pictures of shops stocked to the rafters with sweets of all colours or watching films such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is her all-time favourite."

Becky said Mollie showed her skills as an astute businesswoman when she came up with the idea of having temperature charts in the shops. When the temperature drops, they sell their Mr Whippy ice-creams at lower prices than when it's hot outside.

"For someone so young I believe that really shows a marvellous business brain," she said.

Becky, who is currently running the Shrewsbury shop after it opened last month, said she plans to introduce more American candy and a candyfloss machine there in the near future.

"Mollie loved it when we went on holiday to America and came back full of ideas of selling candy back home. That's why we already stock more than 50 flavours of Jelly Belly beans.

"And Mollie now wants us to have an M&M's colour-coded section which is something we are going to do. We have also installed a slush bar and the latest Mr Whippy machine which automatically pipes on different flavoured sauces.

"Nothing is done in any of the shops without consulting Mollie. And, believe me, if she doesn't think an idea will work she has no hesitation in telling you so."

Becky said her daughter will "definitely" take over the business in the future. But she hopes to open more stores before handing the firm down.

Mollie, who takes bags of sweets in to share with classmates at Buttington Primary School, said: "I really love sweet shops and I like seeing them all colourful and everyone really happy.

"Children have the best ideas. I tell my mum what I think and she always says I have good ideas. It's just that I know what other children like."

BUSINESSMEN AND WOMEN WHO STARTED YOUNG * Mark Zuckerberg He founded Facebook as a student at Harvard in February 2004, when he was just 19.

The chairman and chief executive of the social networking site became the world's youngest billionaire in 2008 and is now estimated to be worth more than $14bn.

* Sir Charles Dunstone The Carphone Warehouse co-founder, recently knighted, began selling mobile phones as a 25-year-old in 1989 backed by pounds 6,000 of savings.

The venture became Europe's largest independent mobile phone retailer, with 1,700 stores, and saw Sir Charles become a billionaire.

* Michelle Mone The Scottish supremo left school at 15 with no qualifications to find a job and support her family and by 20 was head of sales and marketing at Labatt Brewers.

Aged 25 she set up MJM International and has created a number of brands, including lingerie line Ultimo, netting her a pounds 39m fortune.

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Mollie with her mum Becky PICTURES: MATT STEWART [umlaut]
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 24, 2012
Words:772
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