Food & Drink

20 Years of Sweet Memories

To celebrate 20 years at Botany Town Centre, we had a chat to The Sweet Land who has been with us since day one. 

Grace and Walter Shin have run The Sweet Land confectionery store at Botany Town Centre for 20 years – they opened in May 2001 and were recently joined by daughter Irene. Grace and Walter emigrated from South Korea, where, Mrs Shin says, “We never really liked sweets too much. So when we first started here, we really had to learn. We have learned from our customers what they like, from babies to oldies, and we stick to what we do best.”
The Shins run the store seven days a week, and Mrs Shin says adjusting to business in New Zealand – their first shopping centre tenancy started in 1996 – was a transition. “In South Korea my husband was an engineer and I was a nurse for 20 years and it was strange and challenging starting a business in New Zealand.
“My advice [to anyone thinking of starting a business] is, focus on learning rather than competing with others. You don’t have to be number one. Business is always up and down, be happy with your customers, endure and be proud of your job. Focus on the people, not money, and focus on relationships. This is a family business, and my daughter was in animation and came into the business, which gave the business a different perspective.”
Mrs Shin says what she loves most is meeting people. “They are always so kind and they smile and say they love coming into The Sweet Land. When we first came to Botany Town Centre, it was very unique. Over the years we have had customers come from north, south and west Auckland as well as locally – it is a good atmosphere here.”

Find The The Sweet Land on Garden Lane.