Having read the old Roald Dahl books, dreaming of a building devoted to confectionary, the M&M store chain across America, and now also in London, really does give children and adults alike the opportunity to visit a real-life chocolate wonderland.
The stores’ spectacular, playful designs and sheer size endear themselves immediately to visitors, and have done so ever since the first was opened in Las Vegas in 1997. From there, two more were opened almost a decade later in New York and Orlando, Florida. Finally, in June 2011, the English capital was treated to the treats as Leicester Square unveiled the largest global shop of its kind.
The 35,000 square feet of sweet, tasty goodness came as part of Westminster Council’s planned renovation of the area, to align itself with New York’s Times Square. In its own right though, the M&M store in the UK capital has become somewhat of a tourist attraction, and a must-see experience, since its launch.
It is not exactly as it sounds – in other words, a massive building made of M&Ms. Of course, the confectionary side of the store’s products is extensive, but the majority of the floor space is allocated to M&M memorabilia, making it much more of a rounded shopping experience, rather than simply a chocolate factory.
The M&M brand is a household name globally, and a store of its magnitude lends itself to being a top seller of merchandise as well as focusing solely on its flagship, edible products. The likes of t-shirts, toys, M&M characters and other branded items feature heavily in a very Disney Store-reminiscent fashion.
Of course, the confectionary aspect of the store’s offerings is particularly impressive too, offering a multitude of colours, containers and packages, which are equally as valuable as unique gifts and presents rather than just a snack for the journey home. The staff members are especially animated too, making the whole visit an enjoyable port of call away from the more serious hustle and bustle of London’s high streets.
Walking into a cartoon world full of sweets, colour and endless fun is what sets aside the M&M shops from other confectionary stores, while the leverage of the brand itself ensures the longevity and success of its future. It can surely only be a matter of time until further branches are opened in other countries, and similarly, until other manufacturers follow suit and explore the option of self-promoted stores themselves.