Hairdresser says lockdown saved his business after he started selling ice cream

When the coronavirus pandemic caused the nation to go into lockdown, Luke Daniels feared his business would go under.

But instead, he now says lockdown saved his enterprise.

Luke, a hairdresser from Navenby, Lincolnshire, had to shut his three salons on 23 March.

After five weeks fearing the worst, he decided to get creative, turning one of the shops into an ice cream and milkshake bar.

He was able to start serving up takeaway gelato right away – which turned out to be a massive hit as temperatures rose and people who’d been cooped up at home were desperate for some sweet treats.

The venture has been so successful that Luke has kept the ice cream shop, named Urban Gelato & Milkshakes, around even after salons were allowed to reopen, with staff who usually worked at the hairdressers coming on board to serve up desserts.

‘If it wasn’t for lockdown, we wouldn’t have started this new business and it was so successful that we continued it after our hair salon was allowed to reopen – it was supposed to close down eventually,’ Luke said.

‘We decided to shut the salon prior to the lockdown as we couldn’t carry on.

‘We pondered if we had lost everything – everything we’ve worked for for the past 18 years has gone.

‘We’ve had a really positive reaction, everyone loves it and it’s given people something nice to do whilst going for a stroll in the sunshine or walking their dogs.’

Now, after operating from the hair salon for nearly eight weeks and proving hugely successful in the village, the new business has its own location at the village tearooms with Luke’s partner, Emma, managing it day-to-day.

The team sell gelatos, sundaes, and even doggy treats, all for takeaway to allow safe social distancing.

Luke is so pleased with how the ice cream bar has gone down that he now plans to restore village tea rooms and radically change his career after 18 years in the hairdressing business.

He added: ‘I was getting restless and stumbled across the idea of selling gelato and shakes.

‘I saw that people could sell takeaway food and it started to click that more people were getting out of the house – they had nothing to do.

‘I spent all of my time turning our hair salon into the new gelato and milkshake bar and it saved our business – some of the staff started working there to keep them going as furlough wasn’t enough.

‘We’re planning on restoring the village tea rooms, this is a new industry for me but I can’t wait to expand and learn more about the food and drink industry.’

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