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Case study: Mr Whippy Leeds

Buying my first new Whitby Morrison van was the best move I ever made. I never looked back from that point.

Business: Mr Whippy Leeds

Location: West Yorkshire

Customer since: 1999

Ian Smith, the owner of Mr Whippy Leeds and a self-confessed ice cream fanatic, says taking the plunge with a Whitby Morrison Ford Transit Short Cowl in 1999 propelled his business to a new level with profits immediately soaring by 25%.

Now the 52-year-old, the proud leader of a three-generation family firm, aims to purchase a new van every year as he operates the largest fleet in Leeds and West Yorkshire.

“People always say an old van will take the same money as a new one but I’ve proved that theory wrong time and time again,” said Ian.

“I’d grown sick of patching up old vans and one day thought I’d go for a new one and it was the best decision. I’d worked one patch for six years and overnight takings went up 25%.

“It’s all about the image. The vans are gleaming and everyone can see that. Some people who wouldn’t normally be interested just stop still then come and buy something. They can see that you are a professional outfit and that’s the key.

“Of course the reliability and performance is all first rate with Whitby Morrison, I’d never go anywhere else now. They bend over backwards to help wherever they can, even when the factory has actually been closed on one or two occasions!

“It’s a friendship now, based on trust. I’ve never looked back since I bought that first one.”

The reliability and performance is all first rate with Whitby Morrison. They bend over backwards to help wherever they can.”

Ian’s dad, also called Ian, started mobiling with a Mr Softee franchise in the early 1960s and still works a van part-time at the age of 72.

Ian set up on his own at 18 and now wife Tracy and their daughters Stephanie and Leanne all involved in the Mr Whippy Leeds operation.

He currently runs eight Ice Cream Vans – four new Whitby Morrisons and four vintage vans. Three of the vintage vans are named after granddaughters Rosie, who at the age of eight is already showing a keen interest in the business, two-year-old Violet and baby Daisy.

Ian said he would recommend the ice cream business and Whitby Morrison to anyone.

He added: “I loved it right from the start, it was immediately a real passion and all I ever wanted to do. Of course you have to earn money but it’s not about that for me.

“It’s about the laughs you have, the banter and the buzz you get from just being busy. When you are selling ice creams you see smiles all day long and that’s absolutely priceless.”