Lily’s Chocolate Box, in Tarrant Street, was officially opened by MP Andrew Griffith on Friday after a whirlwind one-month renovation of the shop.
Having been empty for six months, the unit has been taken on by mother-and-daughter team Lucy Critcher and April Moreton. The space was previously Castle Chocolates of Arundel, which had been run for decades by Clive Gardner before he retired earlier this year.
Lucy said: “The reaction from everyone so far has been wonderful. Everyone has been so lovely, stopping in to welcome us to town, giving us gifts and wishing us luck.
"We really hope people will come in and support us. Hopefully we’ll start to get known through social media and our new website, as well as people passing by. We’re a family-run business and we’re really happy to be part of the Arundel community.”
Lily’s feels like stepping back in time to the chocolate shops of your childhood, with a wall lined with sweet jars and dressers filled with chocolates covered in shiny foil – everything looks so appealing!
This is the first time the duo have run a shop. April said it was quite scary only having such a short time to renovate – as the pair wanted to be open for Friday night’s tree-lighting ceremony in the town and the festive events on Saturday. But now they are open, she said they are finding their way: “Some things have been a learning curve, like building a website, getting the ordering right and project-managing the refurbishment. Being open is the fun part. We love talking to customers and taking suggestions for what we could stock.”
Lily’s Chocolate Box is named after the family pet, a six-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Lily. They said Lily is the centre of their family, and it made sense for her to be the shop’s namesake.
The shop sells a wide variety of luxury chocolates, fudge, jars of sweets, biscuits, gift hampers, tea and much more. In the warmer months, they plan to sell ice cream. The girls have chosen a distinctive nod to the shop’s history, by choosing to wear straw boater hats as part of their uniform. Previous store owner Clive used to do the same. They were designed by Isabella Josie Bespoke Millinery, which is based just over the road.
Meanwhile, the walls are lined with old photographs of the business from over the years, supplied by Arundel historian Mark Phillips. It includes a picture taken in Victorian times.
Where possible, Lucy and April will source products locally, such as the Chichester honey and Cocoa Loco chocolates they sell. And if it’s not local, they have favoured smaller, family businesses.
They decided to take on the shop after Lucy walked past it several times and saw it was empty. While the pair don’t live in Arundel (they live just down the road in Angmering and Littlehampton), they both adore the town and spend a lot of time there.
"I just felt really strongly that we should open a chocolate shop and that it would work,” Lucy said. April added: “When mum suggested we should do it together, I just said ‘ok’ as I’d been thinking about trying something new and it sounded really fun.”
Lily’s Chocolate Box is open seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm. More information can be found on the website https://www.lilyschocolatebox.com/