A Doncaster ice cream business has scooped a deal to supply Yorkshire Wildlife Park with its luxury products.
Sunnybank Ice Cream Farm, on Bawtry Road, has been asked to supply the park’s new confectionary shop and ice cream tubs for all the park’s refreshment outlets.
The new deal comes at the end of a very successful year for the husband and wife-run ice-cream company which only moved into its current premises last August.
Owner Rebecca Storey, who comes from Hatfield, said: “The move has exceeded our wildest expectations.
“We had envisaged a ten year plan to get to where we want to be, but at this rate we will achieve our goals in three years.”
Rebecca and her husband Edward have worked in the artisan food business for many years, setting up a chocolate shop in Guernsey in 1998 and running a coffee and ice-cream shop in Doncaster for nine years.
When they decided to move purely into the ice-cream business they spent years searching for a suitable property and eventually bought Sunnybank Garden Centre which already had a tearoom.
“Some of the garden centre buildings were quite run down and we could see an opportunity to take our business to the next level,” said Rebecca.
The Storeys got planning permission to build a new tea room, ice-cream parlour and farm shop all under one roof, replacing some of the existing buildings, and work starts in October with completion due by Easter 2016.
As part of the move to Sunnybank they were able to keep on all 12 of the existing garden centre staff, and even increase their hours.
“We are over the moon with the staff we inherited,” said Rebecca. “Some of them have been here for 30 years so they have a lot of experience and it’s been good to be able to offer them more work.”
Sunnybank Ice Cream Farm is being supported by Business Doncaster, a partner in the South Yorkshire Sector Growth Enhancement Programme (SYSGEP), which is part-financed by the 2007-13 European Union’s European Regional Development Fund.
“The support has been amazing,” said Rebecca. “I’m good at designing and setting things up, but Business Doncaster has helped us with our financial planning and an application to the Regional Growth Fund.”
The money has helped the company to purchase new ice-cream making machinery, security gates and additional CCTV equipment.
Sue Harrison, SYSGEP sector growth manager at Business Doncaster, said: “It is great to see a Doncaster company doing so well and expanding its business so rapidly.
“Sunnybank Ice Cream Farm is a real success story and Business Doncaster will do everything it can to support their growth.”