Ian Philpottâ€™s enduring passion for milk shakes has brought him the basis of a successful business and provided a fillip for the North East dairy industry.
In May, 2007 he opened the North Eastâ€™s first milk shake bar at 88, Clayton Street, Newcastle, Earlier this year, he opened a second in Old Eldon Square in the city centre. And before Christmas he will launch two more, at the MetroCentre in Gateshead and Old Elvet, Durham City. In January, the fifth Shakeaholic milk bar, under a franchise arrangement, will open in High Street West, Sunderland. Ian will also have provided work for about 40 people at the start of the recession.
It is a dizzying rate of progress for a former Peterlee, County Durham, call centre worker, who was made redundant after seven years with Orange, and ploughed his Â£25,000 pay-off into his new business. Having seen how milk bars had taken off in the south of England and particularly in Bristol where his older brother, Steven, lives, Ian was convinced the North East was ready for the new experience. “Trade his been phenomenal,” he said, this week.” People, mainly from 11 or 12 to their mid-twenties, queue round the block to buy the milk shakes which come in 175 different flavours.”
And to ensure future supplies in quantity of top quality milk and cream, Ian has signed an exclusive two-year deal with Lanchester Dairies, of County Durham, probably the largest independent milk processor in the North East, which buys its milk from up to 14 dairy farmers in the Tyne and Derwent Valleys. The Lanchester firm also has a separately-run ice cream business, Bill â€™nâ€™ Geoffâ€™s, named after Billy and Geoffrey Austin, the farming brothers who run the Â£10 million combined turnover business.