Published On: Thu, Jul 4th, 2024
Education | 4,255 views

128-year-old shop where generations flock one famous item | UK | Travel

An iconic shop just off the bustling South Gower Road in Wales is a real must-visit if you’re heading on a trip to Swansea this summer.

Shepherds has long been famous for serving up delicious sweet treats for many years, after first being established by the Shepherds family in 1896.

The business has only changed hands twice in its history. Besides its cafe, it boasts a range of locally sourced goods, essential convenience items, household products and unique gifts.

However, the main attraction is its renowned ice cream counter, offering an array of flavours.

In the 1970s, the ice cream was made on-site, but due to regulatory changes, suppliers like Marshfield Farm now provide the ice cream. Despite this, the counter remains as popular as ever, with long lines of school children eager for a taste of its bubble gum flavour.

Vanilla, salted caramel and honeycomb are the top sellers during the week, but the weekend sees a nod to tradition. Older customers travel from as far as Cardiff for a scoop of the famous rum and raisin flavour, reports Wales Online.

The current owners, Carla Humphreys and her partner Luke Borrelli, took the reins in 2019 to save the business when they saw it was up for sale. Despite being out of their depth initially – with Ms Humphreys being a solicitor and Mr Borrelli working at Castell Howell – they quickly adapted to their new roles.

They wholeheartedly adopted the values that have made the shop successful over the years. In keeping with tradition, they base their business model on the needs of the community, going above and beyond to stock items requested by locals.

They prioritise high-quality products, including Gower Coffee and hard-to-find vegan items, and have even opened a cafe serving light lunches and coffees.

Inside the shop, photos from its early days are displayed behind the counter, maintaining a sense of its history despite significant renovations to the interior when they first took over.

Carla the owner, said: “The ice cream has so much history, some of our oldest customers remember coming here for it when they were young. You’ve got the bubble gum flavour which all the kids want, and you’ve got the more traditional flavours like rum and raisin too.

“Customers have also said that they come down here for things they could not get from other places. We look to stock good quality products, vegan and organic foods, and the things that people want, just to run as a good old fashioned convenience store.

“We try to keep as much local and Welsh made stuff in as we can, without it becoming silly.”

She added: “Everything that people say, we take on board and we do. It’s a two way street between us and the customers, we want to have what they want here for them. People will even text me saying: ‘I want this, I want that’ and we’ll look to get it for them.”

Long-serving member of staff, Caroline Rutter, who will have worked at Shepherds for 25 years come November said: “I first started just as a Sunday shift, and it became more and more, and I have done four days a week for around 20 years now.

“The best thing about working here is definitely the people, we have had the same customers coming here every day. They become not just customers, but like family and friends. I have seen people grow up, coming here as kids and now in their twenties.

“Everyone knows each other and will pass on messages to each other through us. The loveliness of everybody makes my day, it’s good to have an old fashioned chin wag.”

Shepherds, located at South Gower Road, Parkmill, Swansea, SA3 2EH, is open from 8am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 8.30am until 5.30pm on Sundays.

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