The love of ice cream keeps Mr and Mrs Clegg going
Ken and Lynda Clegg have seen a lot of changes to their business over the years - but one thing remains the same: the love of traditional white ice cream.
The couple bought the Robinson’s ice cream firm in March 1973 with Ken’s brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Eileen.
Selling both their homes, the families merged, moving into the barn and house in Leyland Lane.
In the mid 1980s, they expanded to create the Dairy Shop and in 1996 they opened a depot, in Hastings Road, Leyland, where the dairy and vans were housed.
In 2004, the Clegg family sold the Robinson’s Farm Ices name and depot to Alan and Julie Wilson, but Ken, 73, and Lynda, 71, kept the Dairy Shop, as it was attached to their home.
Ken said: “My brother worked for a plastics firm and sold ice cream tubs to Leonard Robinson. The pair got on well as they were pigeon fanciers and Mr Robinson said he was selling the business. Bill and I had always talked of owning a business. Maybe as farmer’s sons, the association with milk appealed to us. Eventually we sold both our houses and moved in. Both Lynda and I worked at Preston Shelley Assurance Collecting Society so it was a big change in lifestyle.
“Mrs Robinson used to make the ice cream in a pan in the kitchen. In the late 1950s it became a serious business with vans.
“The shop was just a fridge and trestle table at the end of the dairy. It stayed like that for a long time until the mid 1980s when we made it into a proper shop. In 1996 all the vans and the dairy moved to the depot and we were able to finally have a garden.
“In 2004 we decided to semi-retire and sold the business to Alan and Julie Wilson. Sadly, my brother died not long afterwards. We decided to keep the shop. I don’t know what will happen to the shop when we stop as we have no children to pass it on to.
“Robinson’s, which is now based in Boxer Place, Leyland, still makes and supplies our ice cream.”
The shop is open Monday to Friday 1pm until 5pm, Saturday noon until 6pm and Sunday noon until 7pm, from March until October; noon until 5pm on weekends during the winter and is closed on January.
Lynda said: “Before we sold the business we had to make the ice cream in the mornings and get it out in the vans for selling in the afternoon. It took all morning as we had 15 vans. We also had three kiosks, which we took to summer shows.
“It can be tiring but it is great seeing all the customers, especially as they grow up and they bring their own children in.
“The weather can be frustrating and affect business. It can be chock-a-block one minute when it is sunny and then really quiet. When the sun is shining it is great as everyone is in a better frame of mind. Who would buy ice cream in six inches of snow in November?”
As the ice cream industry has grown, Ken and Lynda have found the most popular choice is still the original white flavour.
Ken said: “The traditional white ice cream is the favourite, without a doubt. It is the one we have built our name on and why we have the shop. It is natural, with no flavours. Despite all the new flavours that are coming out, it out-sells them all. People call it vanilla, but there is no vanilla in it.”
Ken and Lynda have help from one part time member of staff and four students at the weekends.