THE growing demand for sweet treats in Stockton Heath has seen a milkshake bar transform from a small shop to a bustling dessert cafe.

MJay's, which has been situated in London Road for the past four-and-a-half years, has taken over the former Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe but has left shoppers with a whole host of new flavours to enjoy.

Michael Lee, who lives in the village, is the proud owner of the shake bar which has recently undergone a refurbishment in a first step to expand the business.

The 28-year-old said: "Originally we were situated above Mr. Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe, operating as a takeaway with a limited number of seats for customers to sit at if they wished.

"We have now taken over both floors of the premises as Mr. Simms has closed down.

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"We have created a brand new kitchen area downstairs at the back of the shop which now allows us to operate more efficiently and keep our customer waiting times down.

"With the rest of the space downstairs we have added in some more seating at the front of the shop for those who can't get up the stairs, and shelving area which has allowed us to offer an extensive range of confectionery lines from all over the world.

"The upstairs, where we were originally situated, has now been converted into a seating area which can fit more than 40 people, allowing us to cater for bigger groups and party bookings."

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With the help of interior design company, Standing Space and shop fitting specialists, Nationwide Retail Solutions, MJay's transformation took just six weeks to complete.

Michael added: "The shop fit was needed as demand for what we were doing was exceeding our capabilities.

"Even though we had the shop running as efficiently as possible it was proving impossible to keep wait times down to what we think is reasonable when experiencing really busy periods.

"Customers are reacting great to the new shop, especially the new seating area.

"We have seen an increase in families coming, along with grandparents, now they know they can sit in."

Michael is hoping to open more MJay's in other locations and sees the new and improved Stockton Heath store as a blueprint for further projects.

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He explained: "We always wanted to expand the business but knew we needed to push ourselves to our limits in our last store to prove that the demand was there.

"We knew it was the correct time to convert the shop when we had to start turning customers away due to us being too busy and not having enough seating to accommodate everyone."