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A world of ice cream, steam trains - and Harry Potter

This charming Post Office and ice cream parlour combination is on the market.
This charming Post Office and ice cream parlour combination is on the market.
Promoted by Ernest Wilson

Could an ice cream parlour and post office in a picturesque village bring you the sweet taste of success?

It’s traditionally the taste of summer, associated with hot days at the beach and holidays.

But our love for a delicious ice cream cone is no longer confined to the warmer months.

Ice cream is enjoying an all-year-round revival – with analysts predicting the global ice cream market is set to grow by around 4.5 per cent over the next two years.

With new flavours emerging all the time, plus growing demand for non-dairy and vegan versions, we’re all screaming for ice cream.

Ice cream parlours are popping up in villages, towns and cities – some of them offering bizarre combinations of flavours, such as ale sorbet, horseradish ice cream and even gin and tonic!

With ice cream on the menu for many of us, could running an ice cream parlour be not just a great way to get our icy fix whenever we want, but a smart move into a growing sector?

Brian Taylor spotted the potential for expanding his Post Office at Goathland, in the midst of Heartbeat country, to offer an ice cream parlour long before gourmet gelatos featuring oddball flavours – from mayonnaise to much more enticing Turkish Delight - started to take the country by storm.

“We used to sell ice cream in the Post Office, but could see there was demand for it,” he explained. “Our garage next door wasn’t really used, so we converted it first into a sweet shop, and then introduced ice cream.

“It’s brought another element to our business and, because we’re in an area that attracts plenty of tourists, we’re doing well.”

The ice cream parlour and Post Office are just part of thriving business which Brian and wife Susan have built up since arriving in the moorland village of Goathland 17 years ago.

Now preparing to retire, the couple have placed the business, which includes two newly renovated holiday cottages and the family home, on the market with business specialists Ernest Wilson.

It could well be a dream come true for anyone with a taste for sweet success – for according to Brian, the business and village life turned out to be his family’s best ever move.

“We’ve absolutely loved it here,” he said. “It’s been an enormous privilege to serve as the postmaster and to live and work here. I can’t emphasise enough what a great place Goathland is.

“We raised our two lads here and they thoroughly enjoyed growing up with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway on the doorstep and the seaside at Whitby just a few miles away.

“We’ve worked hard and invested a lot of money in the business, and we can now go out feeling we’ve really achieved something here.”

Brian’s role a village postmaster was almost pre-destined. He recalls visiting Goathland as a child, staying on holiday in one of the cottages he’d later own.

“I was only seven or eight and remember I bought a little wooden chess set form the Post Office. I was so impressed by it, that I kept it for years and always had lovely memories of Goathland.

“I always wanted to come back and live here, and when the Post Office came on the market, we jumped at the chance.”

Anyone running a Post Office does need to meet requirements laid down by the Royal Mail – which Brian recalls were straight-forward, even though he had no previous experience of running a business of any kind.

And with two holiday rental cottages as part of the business plus the ice cream parlour, there are additional streams of income to help keep turnover healthy.

There’s no shortage of passing trade and holiday visitors too – Goathland has a railway station that serves the passing steam trains, and played a supporting role in television’s Heartbeat series and as the Hogwart’s Express stopping point for Hogsmeade.

“It’s not unusual to look outside and see a big group of Chinese tourists who have come to see where Harry Potter was filmed,” added Brian, 59.

As a result, the Post Office business alone offers an adjusted net profit of £80,000, with the potential for more income from the two recently revamped holiday cottages.

While the business could have masses of appeal for anyone looking to be their own boss, Brian insists the real appeal is the chance to live in a picture postcard village on the edges of the Moors, with a steam railway right outside the door.

“It will be emotional when the time comes to hand over the keys,” he said. “It has been an absolute joy to live and work here, but the time is right to pass on the baton.”

The Goathland Post Office with ice cream parlour, two holiday cottages and family home is on the market with business property experts Ernest Wilson at £995,000. Find out more at www.ernest-wilson.co.uk