It was almost two years to the day that I last interviewed Seb Cole at his Poole Valley store in Brighton and I remember at the time being overwhelmed by his workload, his drive and his passion for the job.
After opening his first Boho Gelato shop in 2010 Seb was a man on a mission; running the shop, delivering ice cream across the city, making the best gelatos and sorbets in Brighton and managing his business. Two years on and his energy hasn’t changed. He’s still the same upbeat, dedicated man but, today, he’s in charge of four stores.
“Our first shop in Poole Valley, Brighton opened six years ago and up till last summer that was our only location,” explains Seb. “However, in the last 12 months three more Boho shops have opened; another in Brighton in Ship Street, one in Weymouth and one in Worthing.
“You can also find our ice cream in around 50 other food businesses, including most of Brighton’s best. The new one in Ship Street was my dream location when I was looking for a shop the first time around in 2010. It took six years of waiting for something on that corner to come up and when it did I naturally jumped at the chance of grabbing it!”
Taking on more stores has increased the workload and with his new responsibilities have come new challenges, as he continues to find ways to grow and develop the business. “I have learned that it’s really a different ball game altogether once you have more than one location,” he says.
“For the first few years I ran Poole Valley pretty much single handedley; I would make ice cream really early in the morning and late into the night and spend the afternoon selling it in the shop.
“I did enjoy that lifestyle a lot as it meant I could spend time with the customers and I had lots of time to experiment in the kitchen. Now I still spend a lot of time in the kitchen but I have to work a lot harder to find time to experiment and play around as there is a lot more ice cream to make.”
However, the knock-on effect certainly hasn’t been a reduction in quality. With hundreds of creative flavours, including four different vegan-based flavours every day, Seb is very conscious of ensuring the quality of his Italian-style ice creams never drops.
“The new shops have made it easier for us to maintain the quality as we have taken on another kitchen, so quite a bit of that wholesale production has been lifted out of Poole Valley, freeing us up to have more fun there,” says Seb.
“We have made over 500 different flavours now including seasonal specials and bespoke flavours for restaurants. Every flavour is different in taste, texture, colour and smell and we really do take a lot of time on our recipes.
So what next for Sussex’s best ice cream? With a smile he says, “We’ll keep making the best quality ice cream and sorbet we can make, and hope that British people start eating more in the winter!”
For more information on Boho Gelato or to get in touch visit www.bohogelato.co.uk
Dan has written numerous articles for Title Sussex. He no longer works for Title Media and has made a confident career in the world of coffee!