'Worst summer in eight years': Gloomy sales for ice cream vendors

The Ice Cream Cafe on Norwich Market 

The Ice Cream Cafe on Norwich Market - Credit: Ben Hardy

Wet weather has dampened ice cream sales in the city - with people instead choosing to warm up with a cuppa. 

The Ice Cream Café on Norwich Market has seen turnover fall by as much as 50pc in August with the owner saying it has been the worst summer in his eight years of business. 

Losing the Lord Mayor's Celebration in Norwich over the past two years due to Covid has also been a big hit for the stall as it is typically the "biggest pay day of the year". 

The owner, who did not wish to be named, added: "We have had our days when there have been plenty of people around but with the weather being cold with no sun, it has not been good for trade.

"We do sell teas and coffees but there is not room for a coffee machine so it does not bring in much income." 

The stall has been renamed the Ice Cream Café from the Ice Cream Parlour to reflect the fact it is more reliant on tea and coffee than before.

A sign for Sundaes Gelato in Norwich advertising hot drinks

A sign for Sundaes Gelato in Norwich city centre advertising hot drinks - Credit: Ben Hardy

But other city-based businesses have fared better due to supplying for attractions and coastal areas of the county. 

Chris Edye, director of Ronaldo Ices, based just off Dereham Road, said flavours such as coffee and chocolate sell better when the weather is cooler compared to ice lollies, sorbets and fruity flavours when it is a scorcher.

Chris Edye, owner of Ronaldo Ices, with his Knickerbockergloria ice cream, inspired by Knickerbocker

Chris Edye, director of Ronaldo Ices - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Mr Edye said he has been pleasantly surprised with sales despite the poor weather, with the biggest challenges presented by staff shortages due to Covid, as well as packaging and supply issues as a consequence of Brexit. 

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But Ronaldo Ices, which supplies to the likes of BeWILDerwood, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Ellie's Ice Cream in Sheringham, has been down around 20pc due to Covid restrictions. 

Mr Edye has his fingers crossed for a warm end to September and October half-term which he says can "make a huge difference" for the business.

Harris and James Norwich, which sells gelato as well as churros and coffee, has had a decent summer and is due to have a new café upstairs. 

Commercial operations manager Sarah Morris said ice cream sales for the business' seaside resorts have been "phenomenal", and are as much as 15 to 20pc up this summer.