Ice Cream As It Should Be
Established in 1929, Holdens & Co Ice Cream recently opened its latest shop in Whalley. Gail Bailey chatted to Company Director Lucy Cort to find out more. Photography: Kirsten Platt
Whalley is the latest place to be lucky enough to have Holdens & Co Ice Cream in the village centre: “We are excited to be in Whalley,” says Lucy Cort. “We have been made to feel welcome already – it’s lovely to be part of such a vibrant village alongside other good quality independent businesses.”
Holdens & Co are a proud, family run, artisan ice cream maker, who have been making their famous dairy ice cream from the same site in Edgworth village since 1929. Its history is a lovely story about how the business arrived to be the success it is today.
The business was founded by John and Mary Holden who owned the village shop in Edgworth, where they also sold their homemade ice cream. They used milk from Holstein Friesian cows, which grazed in the fields of a farm less than a mile from the shop – and Holdens ice cream is still today hand made in Edgworth from the same dairy source, and holds the same charm it had over 90 years ago.
John and Mary had three children, and their middle son Jack eventually took over the shop from his parents, whilst his elder sister Marion was a local schoolteacher, with younger brother Jim running the farm.
“Jack was quite a local character and some villagers of Edgworth still refer to the shop, and the ice cream, as ‘Jacks’,” explains Lucy.
Marion was the best friend of Lucy’s grandmother, and godmother to her father Richard, and as neither Jack, Marion nor Jim had children, when Jack passed away in 2009, Marion approached Richard about taking over the business: “Marion was always very astute and became a school inspector as well as a teacher,” Lucy says. “Even now at 93 she is still a force to be reckoned with!”
So, in 2010 Holdens was taken over by the Cort family who continue to cherish its heritage: “Dad initially kept the business as it was then began to experiment and have fun with different cones, flakes and flavours. We continue to develop and try new ideas, but always maintain the buttery rich flavour and traditional texture we’re famous for,” adds Lucy, who joined the business in 2016, just as a second Holdens ice cream parlour had opened in Haigh Woodland Park.
“I had been working in business development and corporate management, in events and hospitality, when I made the move to the family business,” explains Lucy. “I thought originally I would be involved in the sales and promotion side, but I am actually more operational and hands-on, running the day-to-day aspects – and I absolutely love it!”
The family then completely refurbished the original shop adding a deli counter selling local produce, along with a farm and gift shop. As Holdens has expanded over the years they work closely with other local artisan businesses and suppliers, who hold the same charm and business ethos.
It was on a family outing to Whalley that Richard spotted the ‘To Let’ sign on the former Lusso Salon – and they immediately knew it was the perfect spot in the village centre: “We worked with a fabulous spatial designer Sam Tucker who has made the shop look and feel perfect. We opened on 1st March and were so busy our first weekend – we had an amazing response!” says Lucy.
The award-winning ice cream will always remain at the core of Holdens & Co but there are many other exciting things on the horizon: “We have lots of plans with an extra special doggy-safe ice cream for our four-legged friends, a new website where chocolates, artisan cheeses, wines, hampers and gifts can be ordered and, watch this space, as another shop in Abbey Village will be coming soon!”
There are so many fantastic flavours and treats to try, and a wonderful range of handmade Easter eggs and Crème Egg flavour ice cream ready to enjoy. Crème eggs and ice-cream – the perfect chocolatey Easter combo!
Holdens & Co
1 Accrington Road, Whalley BB7 9TD