Sweet success for Candy Hero as it wraps second NPIF loan

A Bradford-based importer, distributor and retailer of confectionery has received a further investment of £500,000 from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).

Candy Hero was founded in 2008 by brothers Frank and Leo Dillon, both former web designers. The business has quickly grown in size and now stocks one of Europe’s largest ranges of mainstream American candy. It also sells British retro sweets, energy candy, Jelly Belly, Japanese snacks, gifts, and other novelty and specialist items, boasting a range of over 20,000 products.

NPIF first invested £250,000 in Candy Hero in 2020 when it was generating £5.7m in turnover. Since then, turnover has almost trebled to reach £15.7m in December 2021 and an increase of £3m is anticipated this year.

Candy Hero has recently moved to a 20,000 sq ft premises, which accommodates a larger stock selection in response to the growing demand from its business customers. The funding will support the business to create seven new roles and further capitalise on its position as one of the UK’s top three importers of confectionery.

David Wright, Investment Manager at Mercia, said: “I’ve known Frank for four years, having worked with him so closely during that time. Naturally, I am very enthusiastic about their continued growth especially as this is a family-owned regional business. The co-founders, who are brothers, make a strong team who are committed to the continued investment into the business and its people. I look forward to seeing where this great regional business goes next.”

Frank Dillon, co-founder of Candy Hero, said: “We’ve experienced phenomenal growth over the past two years. The initial loan from NPIF – Mercia was the catalyst for this journey. I was delighted when NPIF and Mercia’s David Wright were able to support my request for an additional £500,000 of funding. This further investment has made a huge difference to the company and is supporting us as we drive the business forward, scale our operations and hire staff.”

Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank, said: “Candy Hero has seen phenomenal success since the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund first invested, and continues to see its revenues grow. Its story since then demonstrates how funding can make a real and measurable difference, providing vital funding to enable job creation and expansion into new markets. In turn, this helps create a more prosperous regional economy.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.