Viral TikTok fame was great when we opened our shop - but it came with a dark side

Nowadays, it's hard not to scroll through your phone without seeing internet personalities, influencers. Everyday people from all walks of life are making a living from the internet.

Whether their promoting their businesses, showing off their personality or growing their brands, social media is rife.

But one shop which has been enjoying some trappings of TikTok stardom have revealed a dark side of social media fame - one they say they have come to know too well.

Cousins Paul Bennett and Gordon Burton opened Burton and Bennett Snacks Ltd in Brierfield, Pendle in late March and have seen huge success on the social media app. Their shop offers a cheaper alternatives of hot and cold food for residents nearby, with prices such as three chocolate bars for £1.


Having built their brand on the video sharing platform, Burton and Bennett Snacks have amassed over 65.7k followers and this is growing by the day. Whilst they only exist with the support of these individuals, the fame has come with a cost.

"We're in the limelight and they're sat at home being keyboard warriors," Gordon told LancsLive. "They've got nothing else better to do than to give people like us lot hate.

"It's like the Smithy Family, they're really big over TikTok as well and they're a bit like me and Paul. They started getting death threats and things like that and have come off social media for a bit.

"Me and Paul to this day ask, have we done the right thing? Everyone's like, you're shutting down and all this lot - but we're not shutting down, we're carrying on. We're staying strong and just carrying on with what we have to do."

Gordon told LancsLive the hate comments and negativity online aren't their biggest worry, but when they receive threats targeted to family members and loved ones, they feel a little differently towards the trolls.

He continued: "If it's just personal threats to me or Paul, then we're not bothered. If it's family and to do with family members then yeah, we'll do something about it.

"We'll say there was no need for that or say we'll go to the police because we've got your number." Paul and Gordon even toyed with the idea of removing their account from TikTok after the hate they received, but triumphantly came to the conclusion: "Why should we?"

Not only has Gordon been navigating online hate for the shop, but a recent break-up has made the negative comments exponentially worse. "I'm trying to get over it, but people just keep bringing it up," Gordon added.

But why so much hate? Gordon says: "I'd definitely put it down to jealousy, 100%."

Focusing on the positives, the shop is growing by the day, not only with their online following but also with the custom they experience on a daily basis. Wanting to offer cheap food for locals, the shop has now branched out to selling hot food at an affordable price.

Jacket potatoes with a filling are £4.50, pizzas are £5.50, pie and chips is £4.50 and sausage rolls are two for £2. Gordon added: "We get more people coming in for a jacket potato than anything else.

"We still get the odd, one or two who are wanting pizzas or pies or something like that."