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Joe’s Ice Cream to celebrate 100th birthday with rebrand and grand reopening

Enrico Cascarini, Joe's nephew, who created the recipe for the soft scoop ice cream sold to supermarkets today.

The company behind one of Wales’ best-loved brands has reached an astonishing milestone. Joe’s Ice Cream turns 100 this month – and it is set to unveil some exciting changes, and a new dessert, for its loyal customers.

The iconic Welsh brand will unveil a rebrand, renovation and the official grand reopening of its signature parlour on St Helen’s Road, Swansea, on Friday 10th June. The new brand, to be unveiled on that date, will represent both a celebration of the firm’s 100-year heritage and a return to its remarkable roots.

It will also launch a very special new dessert at the event: a Centenary Sundae, an Italian-style Tiramisu flavoured dessert, specially designed to celebrate its special anniversary and Italian heritage.

In addition, it will be raising money for two charities at the relaunch event at St Helen’s: The British Red Cross and Local Aid.

The original Joe’s Ice Cream parlour, circa 1940

The origins of Joe’s Ice Cream can be traced back more than 100 years – to 1898 when Luigi Cascarini travelled from Italy to Swansea in search of work. Surprised by the lack of cafés around the docks, he started his own, serving coffee dawn until dusk.

Joe’s Ice Cream parlour on St. Helen’s Road, Swansea in the 1980’s.

His eldest son, Joe Cascarini followed him to Wales and in 1922, he set up his own café and quickly diversified and started serving homemade ice cream at 85 St Helen’s Road – still the site of the company’s landmark premises today.

The interior of Joe’s Ice Cream St Helen’s Road parlour in the late 80’s.

Since then, the business has grown, diversified and its now in its fourth familial generation, becoming an increasingly recognisable brand in Wales and further afield, with strong community links.

Later this year, the national Storytrails project will connect this history of Joe’s with the Swansea public and community. Storytrails is an immersive experience which brings untold stories from the past to life through the magic of the 3D internet and augmented reality – the same technology that players of Pokémon will be familiar with.

The company will also celebrate its heritage and 100-year landmark in another way: by planting 100 trees in Wales, and another 100 in the Western region of Nepal. This project has been organised in conjunction with Centenary Forests via Swansea University, a social enterprise that supports biodiversity in farming and the environment. The site for the 100-tree plantation in Wales is in planning and will be planted later this year.

Lucy Hughes, director, Joe’s Ice Cream, said: “Here at Joe’s Ice Cream, we have always understood the importance of the company’s heritage and history, but for our family business to reach such a remarkable milestone is truly humbling. We wanted to mark the occasion in a way that was befitting of our modest beginnings, and we feel an exciting refurbishment at the same premises where it all began is a perfect way to celebrate with our customers. We hope that the next generations of our loyal custom base continue to visit us and create happy memories at our parlour.”

Jay Bedwani, founder of the Storytrails project, said:

“Using AR technology is a brilliant way of stepping into the past and experiencing the fascinating story of Joe’s. For me, the story of Joe’s isn’t just about the man himself, but the whole community, and one special person who always had his back. It’s an emotional story, and very relevant to the times we’re living in now. I can’t wait for people to experience it!”

Storytrails will take place over a free two-day festival from 10 – 11 August at the Central Library. The public will be invited to walk a short trail around Swansea centre to discover the surprisingly dramatic history of Joe Cascarini and his sister Gerardina.