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  • Southside

Serving up sweet memories for almost 70 years

Friday, 3rd May, 2019 8:00am
Serving up sweet memories for almost 70 years

Locals kids Alex (6), Zoe (8) and Felix (6) Rogan enjoy their first Teddy’s cone of the season.

Serving up sweet memories for almost 70 years

Locals kids Alex (6), Zoe (8) and Felix (6) Rogan enjoy their first Teddy’s cone of the season.

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FROM a small window overlooking Scotsman’s Bay on Dun Laoghaire’s seafront, Teddy’s Ice Cream has been serving up sweet memories for nearly 70 years.

Over the decades their iconic soft-serve cones have become a firm favourite with locals as well as visitors from all over the city and even further afield.

On a wet, windy Tuesday afternoon I met with Yasmin Khan, who runs Teddy’s with her two brothers, to find out the secrets behind their lasting success. Despite the inclement weather, a small queue eagerly awaits outside.

“We all love ice cream,” Yasmin declares. “If you love what you do, people see that. And we have time for everybody. You can come in; you can have a chat. It’s all about treating people well, and all about families, and giving people a little bit of happiness.”

The commitment to community has paid dividends in the long term. A good-humoured staff serve quality cones with a genuinely warm smile. Some customers come for the chat as much as the cone. In a world becoming increasingly impersonal, the social utility of a shop like Teddy’s cannot be underrated.

The original Teddy’s Ice Cream was opened in 1950 by a man called Edward Jacobs alongside a tearooms and souvenir shop. Folklore has it that the busiest day in Teddy’s history was June 28, 1963, when President John F Kennedy visited Dublin. People came to Dublin from all over the country to welcome him, and the footfall spilled into Dun Laoghaire.

Yasmin’s father, Brian, came to Dublin from South Africa in 1962. While working as an accountant, he did the books for an ice cream company.

The more sociable lifestyle appealed to him and he bought Teddy’s when Jacobs retired in 1990. Back in those days Teddy’s used to stay open well after midnight.

 Brian handed over the keys to his children about ten years ago, but still takes an active role in the business. Despite the increase in competition and economic uncertainty, Yasmin is confident for Teddy’s future.

“What we do we do well,” Yasmin states. “It’s our own brand, it’s our own ice cream, we’ve less additives and less sugar. No one else is able to roll the cones with the toppings without it falling on your hand.”

She believes that ice cream is a recession-proof industry.

“It won’t go away. You can treat your family for a day out at a reasonable price. You can go to Dun Laoghaire and get a family deal for €7.50. Everyone has ice cream; everyone walks the pier and it’s a nice day out. It’s not expensive.”

The Teddy’s empire has grown considerably in recent years. They have two shops in Dun Laoghaire as well as two stalls on the pier and two vans stationed on the seafront.

To add to their shop in Bray, they have just opened a new unit on St. Anne’s Street, Dublin 2.

I ask whether kids these days eat less ice cream, given the recent focus on healthy eating.

“I don’t think so,” Yasmin adds. “In reality we’re selling a good quality product. It’s not full of bulking agents or artificial flavouring. Look, ice cream is a dessert. It’s a treat that’s supposed to make you happy. You’re not going to indulge in them six times a day.

“At the end of the day, it’s good quality. Our sprinkles aren’t as bright because they don’t have E numbers in them, we use natural flavouring.”

The decline of Dun Laoghaire’s main street has affected everyone in the community, Yasmin believes.

She also thinks the local council need to rethink their strategy if the town is to be revived.

“We have the piers and the harbour, two beautiful assets, but there is a lack of connection between the main street and the seafront,” she states. “The town is filled with coffee shops. We need a more diverse range of business. If the council could lower the rates Dun Laoghaire will thrive again.”

Report by Tommy Hickey

Locals kids Alex (6), Zoe (8) and Felix (6) Rogan enjoy their first Teddy’s cone of the season.

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