Harpenden's oldest established shop opened a second location last week, opening its doors in St Albans.

Thorns, a sweets and tobacco retailer that has been open in Harpenden for 105 years, opened in George Street last Monday, May 15.

The establishment had been run by the much-loved Moxley family, but is now under the stewardship of Maurizio Salustro and Jonny Harris.

Herts Advertiser: A hand-painted front has been added to the George Street store.A hand-painted front has been added to the George Street store. (Image: Jonny Harris)

The latter spoke with The Herts Advertiser during a visit earlier today (Monday, May 22).


The store is brimming with jars of traditional and contemporary sweets, along with cigars and pots of tobacco.

Period scales for both tobacco and sweets are present at the store, which match the building's historical feel.

Herts Advertiser: A range of traditional and contemporary sweets are present.A range of traditional and contemporary sweets are present. (Image: Jonny Harris)

Speaking of taking on the challenge, Jonny said: "My business partner and I... I was very into cigars and he was very much into smaller shops, he started buying a few.

"We ended up taking over the one in Harpenden, in November last year.

"(We) grew that, developed it, but maintained its look and feel because its such a landmark there.

Herts Advertiser: The shop has been present in Harpenden for 105 years.The shop has been present in Harpenden for 105 years. (Image: Jonny Harris)

"We wanted to replicate the business elsewhere, and St Albans was a great opportunity for us!"

Speaking of opening the new store, Jonny continued: "It's been a busy few weeks, getting it ready.

"I had a baby during that time as well, second baby, so I'm two-and-a-half weeks into that.

"Mario (Maurizio Salustro) has also got a baby due, in two weeks time!

Herts Advertiser: The store is located at 19 George Street.The store is located at 19 George Street. (Image: Jonny Harris)

"It's a busy time, but there's never a perfect time to open a shop."

With the shop having been established for such a long period in Harpenden, finally opening a second store can be a daunting prospect.


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On the welcome he has received from St Albans residents, Jonny commented: "A lot of people know us from Harpenden.

"So, we just wanted to get open because a lot of people's relatives will live in Harpenden, so they'll go to the other shop.

"Now, we're in the local area so they come here, and still go to Harpenden at the weekend.

"It will snowball, I know it will.

"It's a very unique shop, there's nowhere else that does the stuff that we do, despite being quite a small shop.

"Contrary to popular belief, tobacco products are still really popular across a much wider age range."