Winter is coming: Archers ice cream parlour shuts up shop
Jersey ice cream parlour Archers has closed its doors on Acorn Road after four years of trading in Jesmond.
Citing a “lack of demand”, the ice cream parlour, originally based in Walworth near Darlington and with multiple outlets across the north east, closed its doors in October.
Seasonal businesses such as ice cream parlours are tasked with an unusual feat: earning enough revenues in one period to sustain themselves for a whole year. The closure of a long-running ice cream parlour in Jesmond could benefit – or be an augur – for nearby frozen yoghurt retailer Iglouu on Brentwood Avenue.
Iglouu is reaching its one-year anniversary. As 25-year-old Si Coward, a former management consultant and co-owner of Iglouu with Michael Carling explains, Archers’ initial success in Jesmond gave them the confidence to set up their business in the north east.
Taking inspiration from a similar shop named Shakey Jakes in Leeds, the two offered an alternative to Archers: a healthy, contemporary product that appealed to young people. With 800 possible combinations of milkshake, as well as smoothies, waffles and parfaits, Coward boasts of his shop’s extensive product range.
“You can come in here 100 times and have something different every time,” he said.
But the company has diversified its product range to try and mitigate the effects of a cold winter on a business selling frozen products.
The entrepreneurial duo have had to think of initiatives to combat seasonality and stop their brainchild from simply melting away. Coward is keen to add crepes and hot toppings to the menu, as well as opening a store in Durham.
Iglouu benefits from nearby passing trade. The shop’s midweek sales are at their peak between 3pm and 5pm, when nearby West Jesmond Primary School finishes its schoolday. Pupils from RGS Newcastle and Newcastle School for Girls – both of which are a short walk away – also come to Brentwood Avenue, where the average shopper skews younger than on Acorn Road, according to Coward.
The business would struggle without their young customers, Coward admits. Iglouu has based its business around this key demographic. The store has a trendy, colourful interior, with free WiFi available throughout. Images of company mascot ‘Louu the Penguin’ adorn the walls, with plush dolls sitting on the counter for customers to play with. Younger children are encouraged to ‘draw their own Louu’ on a blackboard as they enter the shop.
Coward has noted the loss of Archers in Jesmond, and has taken notice. He explained there is plenty of time to expand and “turn a shop into a business” as the company matures. For now, money earned in the summer will be spent on necessities to ensure Iglouu does not go the same way as the shop that inspired it to open its doors in Jesmond.