N2 Ice Cream Lab harnesses the science of liquid nitrogen to freeze ice cream as you wait. There is also a funky periodic table of flavours and toppings instead of a menu. Maija and Errol Groenewald opened their first shop in Parklands in 2014 and recently added a second in The Paddocks Shopping Centre in Milnerton.
How did your business start?
Three years ago I went on holiday to London with my teenage son. We stumbled upon a liquid nitrogen ice cream shop in Camden Town and we couldn’t believe our eyes. It was love at first bite. I’ve had the liquid nitrogen bug ever since.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Proximity to home so that we could be “hands on” as we built the business. We also felt that the area’s demographics suited our product very well.
How did you find your premises?
The space at The Paddocks was being used by another ice cream store that was coming to the end of its lease. Initially the landlords, Dale Glen, were reluctant to take another ice cream store. We weren’t proud. We pestered them. Stalked them by phone. Begged. We finally won them over by making some of our ice cream at their head office.
Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
On weekends and holidays, we have a good flow of customers coming through the food court. We are also strategically located close to the kids’ play area, as well as other restaurants.
Who are your neighbours?
Dale’s Black Angus Grill, Ocean Basket, Mugg & Bean, Simply Asia and First Base Pizza. Our immediate neighbour is an upmarket clothing store, Andrews.
What are the shop rental/ sales prices like in this area?
Every tenant negotiates their price. Let’s just say that it is fair.
What is your shop footprint?
There is no typical week or month. During Christmas, we were rushed off our feet. At other times, it can be extremely quiet – much depends on the time of year. A guesstimate of average daily foot traffic during the week is maybe 300. At weekends, you can double/triple that number.
Do you have any expansion plans?
Yes, we are expanding all the time. We do events with our mobile unit, and our schedule is packed until the end of May.
Do you operate online?
Not at the moment.
What’s your most popular item?
In summer our top seller has got to be salted caramel.
See for yourself:
084 516 1818
Words: Kit Heathcock