A FAMILY-owned ice-cream parlour and pizzeria is planning an exciting move into home-made chocolates and wholesale – and a delayed 50th birthday celebration.

Bonnie Rowley is the third generation of her family to run the Glaslyn Ice Cream Parlour and Pizzeria in Beddgelert where Italy meets Wales in the heart of Snowdonia.

While lockdown put the anniversary party on hold, it has also given the business an opportunity to become more flexible and innovative.

Among them are wholesale pots of their best-selling, award-winning ice-cream for restaurants, cafes and shops in Snowdonia and across North Wales, click and collect pizza and home-made waffles with a move into ice cream-themed chocolates coming later in the year.

Their pizzas have Welsh names like Gelert, Eryri and Llywelyn and they use locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible.

Bonnie, 32, said: "We are serious about sustainability. To us that means caring about our team, our community, our customers, the environment and our planet by working towards becoming carbon neutral.

“This is about marking 50 years in business but it’s also down to Covid-19 and responding to a changing world – it would be nice to have a party but that will have to wait for now.

“The business goes back to the 1940s with my grandparents selling textile products across North Wales but in 1970 they bought the café and shop in Beddgelert, put a soft-serve ice-cream machine in the window and the rest is history.

“It was my dad, Derek, who took advantage of his parents going away on holiday to throw out the textiles, turn the shop into an ice-cream parlour and concentrate on the café with my mum, Elaine.”

Lesley Rider of Bangor University with Bonnie Rowley. Picture: Mandy Jones

Lesley Rider of Bangor University with Bonnie Rowley. Picture: Mandy Jones

The expansion was inspired by Bonnie enrolling on a business course run by the North Wales Business Academy, a collaboration between Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Bangor University and Wrexham Glyndwr University.

It has already seen her turn seasonal and part-time jobs at the café-restaurant in Beddgelert into full-time, year-round roles.

The University of South Wales graduate added: “My heart has always really been in the business, helping my dad make ice-cream, while my mum, Elaine, who is a chef, ran the café.

“I’ve bought the business which I’ve worked in most of my life and we’ve got a core team of 10 employees including myself.

“The team were furloughed during the recent lockdown but we are getting ready for the easing of restrictions and will be recruiting more staff, including seasonal student contracts for the holidays and weekends.”

Lesley Rider, NWBA Project Manager for Bangor University, said: “We have a mentoring system in place and Bonnie’s mentor, Lawrence Cox, has kept in close touch and the plans they had put in place helped her through the difficulties of 2020.

“Instead of firefighting as many others did, Bonnie was able to look back at her long-term business development and product expansion plans and consider what changes needed to be made to keep the business on track.

“It’s beneficial for businesses to take a step back and see the big picture.

"When firefighting it feels like there’s no time to take part in courses, but the courses help business-owners to think innovatively and creatively and that has never been more important.”