Serial entrepreneur steps in to save iconic county ice cream firm

Martin Molloy, former owner of Bonds of Elswick with Simon Rigby MBE, cheif executive of The Rigby Organisation which has bought the ice cream firm
Martin Molloy, former owner of Bonds of Elswick with Simon Rigby MBE, cheif executive of The Rigby Organisation which has bought the ice cream firm
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An ice cream icon which looked set to be frozen out is getting a cool new  lease of life after being scooped by one of the county’s best known entrepreneurs.

Wrea Green’s Simon Rigby has spent hundreds and thousands to take over Bonds of Elswick – with big plans for expansion.

The family firm was put up for sale by Martin Molloy this time last year, its premises threatened with closure and being used for housing.

But now the production facilities, cafe and restaurant have got a new lease of life with Mr Rigby, who has the likes of The Villa hotel and restaurant, care homes and Preston’s Guild Hall, in his stable of businesses.

He said: “Bonds is a Lancashire icon with its roots in farming where I have my own roots and it is a privilege to take this family firm on.

“We aim to bring the glory days back to Bonds of Elswick. It used to produce seven tonnes of ice cream but recently was down to just half a tonne. Bonds’ vanilla has been a legend since 1947.

“I have been going to Bonds since I was four or five years old, so I am delighted to keep such an iconic brand alive and continue the Bonds story, welcoming customers old and new.”

He said Bonds premium flavours would continue and would now be sold in Preston’s Guild Hall when his Leaf or Bean cafe moves to bigger premises and becomes a coffee and ice cream parlour.

He also said that Bonds would find a wider customer base with a new budget soft scoop range which he would sell through his other successful business Clifton Quality Meats which would support more jobs in the area.

Former owner Martin Molloy had taken over the family business in 1993 and worked at the Elswick site since he was 14, but at the age of 68 and having dedicating most of his life to ice cream, he was ready to retire.

Although the kiosk and production remained going, there was talk of numerous uses for the site and even demolition, which was heart-breaking for Martin and his family, but today he said he was delighted Simon Rigby had come it to carry the firm forward.

He said: Martin said, “I am delighted that this is not the end of the road for Bonds and that the story can continue for many more years to come.”