Is this the sweetest job in town?
WHETHER you need a hit with your morning coffee, a little something to take the edge off after lunch or are in trouble and need to make an apology, Robyn Quinn is your lady.
Often nicknamed the "lolly shop lady” Robyn is the one wearing a bright fuchsia pink shirt and a big smile behind the counter at Harbour Sweets in Coffs Central.
There's an old-fashioned scale with little weights sitting on that counter and rows of glass jars filled with sweet treats line the surrounding shelves.
"I love working here, everyone who comes in is so happy,” Robyn said.
"Children come in wide-eyed and point at the jars with the red clouds, ghost drops and teeth and say I'll have one of those and one of those and some more of those ....”
"Parents tell the kids not to touch anything but that's just way too hard in a sweet shop.”
Is there a peak hour at Harbour Sweets?
"Oh that's easy, it's just after lunch. We have a lot of people who go upstairs and grab a kebab then come in here to satisfy their sweet tooth. Also, a lot of people seem to come in straight after visiting the dentist which is quite funny.”
While there are Harry Potter Bertie Botts and Bean Boozled by Jelly Belly with weird and wild flavours including dog food or chocolate pudding, many shoppers will recognise lollies from their childhoods which are still winners with kids in 2017.
"The ghost drops that change the colour of your tongue, Choo Choo bars, Sherbet Fountains, Tattoo Bubble Gum and Fads (they used to be called Fags in the not so politically correct 1970s) are all still popular.”
Robyn worked for the previous owner for 10 years when the business was known as Darrell Lea and took over the business in partnership with her husband Peter, 12 years ago.
"We still stock Darrell Lea but have expanded to include many other things customers have asked for.”
Those customer requests include nut free, dairy free and gluten free options. and an international flavour.
"Our international section is growing all the time. We have German chocolate by Ritter Sport, Dutch salted liquorice, New Zealand Kiwi Fruit Puffs, Black Knight and Winegums, we get a lot of English customers also so we cater for them too. And what started out as a few items in the corner soon became a wall full of treats from the USA which include Jolly Ranchers, Milk Dudds, Hershey's and Twinkies.
Another popular item is the gift-wrapped boxed chocolates.
"It's mostly blokes who buy the wrapped chocolates and they ask 'Will this get me in the good books?'”
And what's the lolly shop lady's favourite lolly? "I can't go past a nut cluster.”