TENBURY has its own Willy Wonka.

The town has its first ever chocolate factory.

It is the latest expansion for a business in the town centre that only started four years ago.

Garry Thompson is turning the sweet shop Mr Thoms, into a mini Cadbury.

He opened the business in 2015 when he was made redundant after a quarter of a century with the Co-op.

But Garry, aged 47, decided that he did not want to work for anyone else and would go it alone

“It was a big decision and I ploughed most of my redundancy money into the project,” he said.

But utilising all that he learned in a career both as a shop manager and in sales he has created a business that he says is taking five pounds for every one that it did when he started.

It has also created five new jobs with more to come.

Not content with just running a small-town sweet shop Mr Thompson decided that at the core of the business would be selling top quality chocolate from Belgium.

He then decided that more space was needed and when the bakery next door became vacant, he decided to buy it and make a bigger business.

So, as well as sweets chocolate and soft drinks Mr Thompson started selling bread, cakes and sandwiches.

Some of the bakery products are made on the premises and others are delivered every day from Cleobury Mortimer.

“The sandwiches and baguettes quickly became very popular and a lot of people come in here to buy their lunch,” he said.

“I do some of the baking and the team also get involved.”

Last year Mr Thompson decided that it was time to expand the chocolate side of the business and this would involve creating his own factory.

There were some modifications that had to be made to the building and an investment of in the order of £30,000 in equipment.

Then there was also the job of learning how to make chocolate.

“This included several trips of Brugge in Belgium to visit several chocolate factories,” Mr Thompson said.

“There has also been a training course in this country with more learning to be done.

“We make dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and also a ruby chocolate.

“Then we are making novelties and looking at the Christmas market.”

But Mr Thompson says that the chocolate made on site will be additional and not instead of the lines that have proved so successful.

In time some of the chocolate made on site will be sold locally to other outlets like farm shops.

Summer is the time of year when people buy least chocolate and this is why the factory is being opened now.

“It makes sense to do it at a time when there is slightly less demand so that we can perfect the techniques and iron out any gremlins,” Mr Thompson said.

He said that chocolate sales did not appear to be affected by austerity and changes in the town.

“I used my experience to know how to respond to developments like the arrival of Tesco,” he added.

Mr Thompson added that although Tenbury is small it can be a great place to do business.