"Kids now, they would never see an old school sweet shop"
The owner of Birmingham’s newest sweet shops set up his businesses after a dream that he was Willy Wonka inspired him.
Former primary school teacher Faraz Chohan, known as Frank, opened Professor Willy’s sweet shop in Moseley, Birmingham, on April 29, 2023.
His first store is in Kings Heath.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the stores, Frank said:
“I had a dream, I was watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I went to sleep and in my dream I was Willy Wonka, when I woke up I missed it, so I went and opened a sweet shop!
“Every adult, we think we grew up so quickly, so I’ve created that shop to bring the inner child out, and for kids it’s a magical place.
“Kids now, they would never see an old school sweet shop, an old traditional British style sweet shop, there’s not much around, ones with glass jars.”
Professor Willy’s is a weird and wonderful place, with a sign stating “Welcome to the mad house”.
The shop has a purple, yellow and white theme while upbeat music plays.
There are chic antiques as well as a retro life-size cut out of Gene Wilder’s incarnation of Willy Wonka.
Professor Willy’s in Kings Heath boasts not only 700 types of treat but a whole host of bizarre antiques too – whereas its Moseley branch specialises purely in sweets.
Frank was a dance and drama teacher at a primary school.
He then moved on to run a homeless support service in Birmingham, which he continues to do alongside the sweet business.
On what his friends and family think about his business venture, Frank said:
“My family and friends think I’m mad, but if you don’t dream, you don’t live it.
“I woke up and I thought, that was a nice dream, I’m going to open a sweet shop.”
“I put my savings into the business, I ran the Kings Heath shop as an antique store before. The aim is more to have a few more shops in Birmingham.”
On his shop in Moseley, Frank added:
“We need a bit of joy, it’s a nice fun shop, it’s a community shop so everyone’s welcome.”
Professor Willy’s sweet shop is on 11 St Mary’s Row in Moseley village.
It is open from midday to 6pm from Tuesday to Saturday, but Frank says those hours are flexible as they continue to develop the business.