Summer can only mean one thing – ice cream. RN asked Vip Panchmatia about how he makes the most of his ice cream range – with a little help from a £10,000 parlour unit

Vip Panchmatia – Wharf Convenience Store (Mace), Stroud

vipI installed an ice cream parlour last year and I’ve kept it going all year round. I invested heavily and independently because I didn’t want to be tied to one ice cream company, which is another option. However, I have been working with Kelly’s of Cornwall which supply me with 18 flavours, cones and scoops and ongoing support.

The parlour is on the right as soon as you enter the store, so it’s highly visible. In the summer, I also place a large sign outside so people know I’m the go-to shop. We’re situated on a square, so this year I’ll think about putting out some chairs and tables out too.

I debated whether to keep the parlour running in the winter, but I gave it a go because I didn’t want that part of the shop to look empty. I sold a reduced range and more tubs. My sales have been steady and I’ve run half-price offers on Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen Dazs throughout. However, I don’t put a full-time member of staff there, like I would in the summer.

This summer my mission is to build my ice cream sales. I’ll be advertising on Facebook and running offers in the local newspaper. I’m looking for a 40% increase on last year’s sales.

As well as my scoop ice creams, I keep a full freezer of bestsellers like Magnums, Cornettos and children’s lollies like Calypsos. There’s always new and limited edition flavours coming out, so I try them and if they sell, I keep them. It’s about finding a balance between the old favourites and the new. And, we’re praying for a hot summer to boost sales too.

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