The old Milford Store is now home to ethical ice-cream and more with the arrival of Just-Ice, founded in March 2018 by Gav and Sally Murray.
‘We’re delighted to be here in Milford’ says Sally, having taken over from [Re]Space, run by Jon and Jill Needle. ‘This space had a great atmosphere from the minute we walked in; clearly a lot of love had gone in to starting it.’
Just-ice itself started when Gav and Sally, who have been making homemade ice cream since 1999, decided to combine their business with their passion for social justice, in particular the plight of people caught up in slave-trafficking. So what makes their ice cream and their whole enterprise ethical?
As Sally points out: ‘Firstly we believe ethical business can change the world. We bank with Reliance who are part of the Salvation Army. The bank gives 75% of its profits away to charity and use the strapline ‘we don’t love money but we love what it can do.’ To us, that’s a great perspective. For all our business services we research their ethics so we can put our money where it will always help people.
Secondly, we source our ingredients and products carefully. Where possible we use other social enterprises so their businesses can thrive too. Our coffee, tea, chocolate, even our uniforms… all have stories behind who made them, and our purchasing power is bringing freedom to other people that otherwise would be in poverty. It means we may need to pay more for some ingredients but we believe people matter more than profit. Consumers have so much power!
Thirdly, there are the environmental issues. We use biodegradable and compostable consumables rather than plastic. This area is a minefield! We are a work in progress but eventually would love to become carbon neutral; if you don’t aim high then nothing changes eh?
Finally, and most importantly, Just-Ice exists to provide employment to people who have undergone the horrendous trauma of being trafficked and been trapped in modern day slavery. We are a ‘not for profit’ so all profits will go towards supporting these amazing people to start to build a healthy and resilient future. For those who suffer from the trauma of modern-day slavery the government currently offer 45 days of support, but after this they become reliant on charities. Just-Ice was founded to offer the next step, providing after-care for people from across the East Midlands.’
In spite of the name, it isn’t just ice cream you can buy at the café. Just-ice dish up breakfasts, brunches, cakes, desserts, homemade waffles, milkshakes, tea, coffee & hot chocolates. Sally particularly recommends the Smashed It Breakfast and Norwegian hot chocolate. As Sally points out: ‘Smashed it is smashed avocado and balsamic glazed roasted vine tomatoes on sour dough toast, topped with a poached egg/bacon/smoked salmon, whatever is your tipple. Norwegian hot chocolate is when you get the hot frothy milk and fairtrade organic callets served separately and then just stir them through the milk at your leisure – a hot chocolate in its truest form.’
Sally further points out that everything is made to order and that they love getting feedback – ‘some of our most popular items were customer suggestions, so hopefully we’ll get some from our Milford customers.’
Displayed on the walls of the café are four words writ large: Fun, Fairness, Friendship and Freedom. As Sally explains: ‘these are our four core values. We want both our staff team and customers to experience all 4 as they journey with us. It’s amazing what coffee and icecream can achieve!’
As for the ice cream itself, Just-ice produce 65 flavours. They can only display 18 at any one time so they change regularly. ‘Our silky chocolate is worth a special mention’ says Sally, ‘as it’s 70% Fairtrade organic chocolate stirred into our cream base; it really is divine. Then there’s pistachio, liquorice, banoffee, vegan pineapple and coconut – and wait till you try our amazing Christmas flavours. The Baileys one is the best!’
Sally is very enthused by the opening week: ‘We have been welcomed and cheered on by the wonderful people of Milford and beyond, and couldn’t have wished for a more friendly bunch. All our staff are on massive learning curves and we have been very grateful for peoples’ patience as we have finding our feet.’
The feedback has been very favourable, says Sally: ‘People love the space and ambience, and the menu seems to hitting the spot.’
Future plans for the Milford operation include opening up in the evenings for ‘cosy events’ and Sally says she is happy for people to book the space for their own functions and celebrations.
Photo: Amita and Naomi Dinmore