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The fourth generation family firm in Middlesbrough that supplies the country with cones and wafers; Fourth generation family firm supplies the country with cones and wafers from its Middlesbrough base.

Byline: Joanne Welford

If you have ever enjoyed the delicious delights of an ice cream on a sunny day, chances are that very cone will have come from right here on Teesside.

For wafer cones made by a fourth generation family firm based inMiddlesbroughare amongst the best selling cones in the country and millions of them are shipped regularly from our corner of the world out around the UK.

Devon, Cornwall, the south, Scotland and Ireland as well as a strong base right here in the North East number amongst the places served by Greco Brothers from their base on Greta Street.

The independent, family run business has been manufacturing ice cream cones and wafers for more than 90 years since it was set up at a factory 'over the border' in Middlesbrough in 1924 by two brothers.

These days it supplies a range of customers from supermarkets right down to individual ice cream parlours and cafes with a range of delicious wares from cones to ice cream flavours to packaging. A delegation has also recently visited Dubai to show off Greco Brother's products at an event organised by the Food Is Great Campaign.

Current MD is Tony Rovardi and sales director is none other than Olympic long jumper and fellow Teessider Chris Tomlinson, who is married toTony's sister Lucia.

"The business has been family run since the 1920s. It was originally set up by two Greco brothers who used their name for the firm and is now run by Tony Rovardi, fourth generation," explains Chris.

Rea, Pacitto, Capaldi - who remembers these Teesside ice cream kings?

"Lucia's grandparents took over the business, Hilda and Tony.

"We manufacture ice cream wafers, sugar and waffle cones and have started distributing ice cream ingredients. Greco Brothers used to be based over the border and many people know us from there. We moved to Greta Street 30 years ago but a lot of people still remember us as the ice cream place over the border."

There have never been any plans to move out of Teesside, says Chris - their location right by the A66 and the Newport Bridge is, he says, a brilliant one.

The core business is wafer cones but five years ago, the company also announced a partnership with Italian flavour house Aromitalia.

"We sell cones in the millions," he says. "They go as far as Devon and Cornwall, we have customers all over UK, Scotland, Ireland. A lot of our core business is in the North.

"Our wafer cones is one of, if not the, best selling ice cream cone in the country. Chances are if have you eaten an ice cream, the cone will have come from here."

The firm has branches out into waffle cones too - their branded GB3 cone is proving popular. Its choc ices are sold in Morrisons.

As you would expect, the business is a very seasonal one. But Greco Brothers has a core team of workers on its staff of around 25 who come back year after year - and have been doing so for decades.

"In summer time you can work 12 to 14 hour days, seven days a week - when the sun shines you are busy," says Chris.

"We have a lot of loyal staff so we must be doing something right."

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Credit: Greco Brothers

Peter Rovardi, who has just retired from the business and Tony Rovardi who has recently taken over

Credit: Greco Brothers

Great grandfather Liberato Greco who set up Greco Brothers

Credit: Greco Brothers

One of the vans making a delivery to Saltburn

Credit: Greco Brothers

Bertie Rovardi, Emiliana Rovardi, Lucia Rovardi and Raphael Tomlinson enjoying an ice cream cone
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 31, 2019
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