A RETAILER which turns shopping into a magical experience has won a major award.

The Potions Cauldron has become one of York’s success stories in just under three years - topped off by scooping the retail, tourism and leisure business of the year title at The Press Business Awards.

The shop in Shambles is focused around drinkable potions, alongside quirky products, such as jars of unicorn poo, chocolate frogs and love fragrances.

Their offerings are on the shelves at many independents, Center Parcs, Hamley’s and at Merlin Entertainment Attractions.

With lockdown, they lost many of their customers who were also forced to close.

But despite the pandemic, the Potions Cauldron has enjoyed significant sales growth, strengthened by innovative efforts to develop its way through the crisis at a time when the high street was struggling.

Continuing the potions theme, visitors to the apothecary-style shop in Shambles are invited to mix their own potions in the back room.

The duo behind the brand, Phil Pinder and Ben Fry, also invested in building their own wizard mini golf attraction, The Hole In Wand in Coppergate.

The business has grown from three full-time employees to about 17, which will rise to 20 once all current vacancies are filled.

As soft drink manufacturers, they have grown from producing 4,000 bottles per month in 2019, to 50,000 bottles per month from September 2021.

They say their products are priced at a premium but affordable level, designed as occasional treats, but at prices open to most budgets.

Marketing their venture as the most magical drinks emporium in the world has attracted a growing following across social media, as well as national media interest.

They have twice outgrown their warehouse, and are shortly opening their third retail outlet in York train station and expanding their Hole in Wand brand elsewhere in the country.

“This is a really tough category against two fabulous businesses in the city,” said Phil. “Lockdown was impossible. We lost all of our customers and we had to think outside the box.”

Standing on stage alongside co-founder Ben Fry and their team, Phil said: “My business partner Ben and I come up with the idea but they deliver it. None of this would be possible without the team running the business every day.”

Of Ben, he added: “Nothing is possible without him.”