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Sprinkles Gelato opening new store in Above Bar Street in Southampton
THEY are the cold treats that are helping heat up the Hampshire economy.
The popularity of Italian-style ice cream has sparked a jobs boom in Southampton with another 40 being created by a new store due to open this week.
Now the doubters have been proved wrong with the owners making final preparations to launch a new store in a prime Southampton city centre location. The new store is on the Above Bar Street site formerly occupied by Nationwide, and is twice the size of the Portswood parlour.
Since September 2012, when the original Sprinkles opened in Portswood Road – it has proved a huge hit with students and the local community alike, who swapped kebabs and takeaways for something sweeter.
Rival ice cream parlours have opened in its wake: Tootis Gelato in Bedford Place and Gelato Americano in Shirley High Street.
Planning is at an advanced stage for Sprinkles to open a branch in Portsmouth.
One man who is not surprised at how the ice cream market has taken off is Sprinkles co-manager Ibrahim Ahmed, 30, who runs the business with his brother Sharif, 43.
He told the Daily Echo: “We thought it would be a good idea.
“It is a niche market in Southampton and we tried ice cream parlours in London and thought we could do better.
“The key to our success is the community of Southampton.
“They have taken a liking to us and our product and we want to give something back to Southampton.”
Not even the sluggish economy could put off the brothers. Ibrahim said: “It offers something to the general public which is a bit different – everybody likes a little treat now and again, and there is a feel-good factor and people enjoy gelatos and the atmosphere is very good here.”
He added that they did not expect it to be easy taking on a building that has been unoccupied for eight years.
“We hope the local community will support us and we hope to bring a lot of vibrancy to the area,” he said.
Sprinkles will be opening in Above Bar Street at 3pm on Friday.
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