A Perthshire ice cream producer is preparing to open his first shop in Edinburgh’s new shopping centre, St James Quarter.
Joe Sykes founded Joelato – which specialises in Italian ice cream gelato – two years ago.
But the Guildtown firm has reached new heights over the course of the pandemic.
When Joe was put on furlough last April he could focus all his attention on making gelato.
Last July, both Joe and his wife Luice quit their jobs to focus on Joelato full time, delivering the product all over Scotland.
Now it is time to open their first shop in the new Bonnie & Wild marketplace in Edinburgh’s £1 billion shopping centre.
Joelato goes to Edinburgh
Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish Marketplace is Edinburgh’s first food hall, due to open later this month.
It will showcase Scottish hospitality and high quality and responsibly sourced food and drink.
Getting ready to open his first shop has been a lot of work for Joe.
He says: “I’ve not had a job where I’ve had to do these sorts of things before, which has been quite a lot of work.
“It’s things like revenue projections, recruiting a team and investing in equipment.
“But it’s fun and it’s what we signed up for. It’s really exciting.”
The gelato will be made fresh every morning in Perthshire and taken down to the Edinburgh shop.
All the cream, milk and fresh produce going into the gelato is sourced locally.
Very busy through lockdown
Joelato’s gelato adventure started in 2019 when Joe travelled to Bologna to learn how to make Italian ice cream.
Back in Perthshire, Joe and Lucie built a commercial kitchen in a shipping container and was ready to sell gelato by the summer of 2019.
With the pandemic putting a stop to farmer’s markets and weddings, Joe had to come up with a new way to sell his gelato.
Lockdown meant he could make gelato full time and launch a delivery service.
He says: “There’s no denying it’s been the making of our little business thus far.
“We’ve been very busy, and it’s with the deliveries.
“It’s just been Lucie and I doing all the churning and delivering for the past two or three months.
“We had to get a delivery driver because there’s only so many 15 hour days you can do.”
With the Joelato shop opening up in Edinburgh, the delivery service has been put on hold.
Joe will be delivering again soon, as he believes the relationships he has made offering the service is what has made the business grow.
In the future, he hopes to open more shops and to collaborate with other local businesses.
Joe says: “It would be wonderful in a few years to have maybe two or three shops, but I don’t want to count my chickens before they’ve hatched.
“What we love doing right now is collaborations with other businesses nearby.
“At the minute we are working with Scone Palace, making a flavour exclusive to their shop, and we’ll be using fruit from the palace gardens.
“I strongly believe in the idea of working closely with local producers so we can offer something unique.”