East Lothian family ice cream business goes on sale after 120 years

Third generation Di Rollo brothers retire

Friday, 13th December 2019, 11:45 am
The Di Rollo brothers
The Di Rollo brothers

A FAMILY ice cream business in East Lothian has been put up for sale after 120 years of serving up treats.

The famous Scottish-Italian Musselburgh ice cream manufacturer and wholesaler Di Rollo is expected to fetch a six-figure sum.

Brothers Reno and Kevin Di Rollo are hanging up their scoops for a well-earned retirement while their children have pursued other careers.

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“Di Rollo Ice Cream is a much loved, successful regional business with a fantastic customer base,” said Suzanne Lawrie, Business Valuer at sellers Graham + Sibbald.

“As a third generation, family-run business, the current owners are planning their retirement and this underpins the decision to sell.

“We see this as an excellent opportunity to expand the business.”

A firm family favourite through the generations, Di Rollo supplies flavoured ice cream to restaurants, cafes, hotels, catering companies and retail outlets across Edinburgh and East Lothian.

The business includes a purpose built production facility and the premises covers over 5,000 square feet.

It complies with the latest EU directives and is capable of producing over 300 litres of ice cream an hour.

The sale does not include the Elena Di Rollo cafe on Bridge Street, Musselburgh, run by the brothers’ sister, Elaine.

“The truth is, Di Rollo's is much more than that; it's a brand, a Scottish institution"

Di Rollo was set-up in 1899 by Domenico Di Rollo who came to Scotland from Roccasecca, a small Italian village near Cassino, in Italy.

He started his ice cream and confectionery business in Musselburgh and within a few years had opened a second shop as business boomed.

In the early 1950s his son, also named Domenico, established the manufacturing and wholesale side of the business which expanded steadily resulting in new premises being built in 1977.

By this time there was a third generation of the Di Rollo family running the firm. Young Domenico’s sons, Reno and Kevin, continued the business bringing new and innovative flavours of ice cream and sorbets to loyal customers.

In 1986, Elaine took over the running of the family shop in Bridge Street selling 20 flavours of ice cream in a then first for the town.

The range of flavours on offer continued to grow and was complemented by a selection of handmade Belgian chocolates.

Business continued to expand and by 1992 another new factory was required to meet demand - with the current facility completed and in production by April 1994.

Alex Buchanan, of Catering Scotland said: “Di Rollo's has been a legendary name with strong roots for over 100 years.

“It's hard to think of a foodservice business that has come up for sale in recent times that gets close to them for heritage.

“Independent, profitable, family-owned, well known concerns like this do not come up for sale all that often, as we know, and I hope that whoever ends up buying it recognises this and protects its ethos and reputation.

“In my opinion, the eventual buyer should therefore not be tempted to ignore more than a century of Italian-Scottish history by treating it as just another business.

“The truth is, Di Rollo's is much more than that; it's a brand, a Scottish institution.”