RSS Hereford started trading in 1976 as Refrigeration Sales and Service. Led by John James, RSS provided sales and service of commercial refrigeration equipment to the local Herefordshire market place. As the agent for Carpigiani for the South West, Wales and border counties the business grew with the introduction of soft ice cream machines to the UK. It was during his sales trips to Italy that John became passionate about the Italian ice cream parlour, or Gelateria, and the product that is artisan Italian ice cream or gelato – not bad for someone who doesn’t even like ice cream!
Although a bit before the times, In 1983 John surprised the people of Hereford by opening his own ice cream parlour in the town centre known as Giovanni’s Gelateria. We closed in 1992 when the lease expired and the buildings were re-developed. This is when the company focussed on selling the Gelateria concept to the rest of the UK.
Giovanni’s Gelateria gave RSS Hereford invaluable experience of running our own ice cream parlour. John’s children who are both now involved in the business used to work in Giovanni’s. Neil found his passion for making the ice cream whilst Alison ruled the front of house during school holidays and weekends. All this means that when you ask us for advice, you get guidance based on practical experience, not just theory.
RSS Hereford has now been working for over 30 years to encourage more UK ice cream manufacturers and ice cream parlours, to rise to the standards that the Italian and German consumers insist on.
John says, “Although we eat a lot of ice cream in the UK, the majority of the original artisan makers have grown into mass producers where the product is always deep frozen prior to selling. As the fast food and coffee shop market has become more competitive, the true artisan ice cream parlour has become lost amongst hamburgers, cooked breakfasts and chips, swallowed up in a world full of Formica and plastic.”
Finally, however, with the fashion for organic products and the heightened consumer interest in what we are eating, consumers are beginning to expect the full Italian experience of a good artisan ice cream, from the product to the environment where it is eaten.
Although John will never retire from the job that he loves, he is enjoying the growth in artisan ice cream makers especially amongst the farming community. His son Neil and daughter-in-law Annette have taken over the running of the thriving business. The couple oversaw the recent move to brand new offices in February 2014 and are looking forward to growing the business for the next generation of James’ to support the artisan ice cream industry.
Like most of our suppliers we are a family business focussed on providing a timely and affordable solution to your needs. We welcome enquiries for customers with established businesses as well as those looking for a bit more advice when starting up for the first time. We offer different levels of service depending on what the customer needs and to meet their budget constraints. Since 1976 we have built up a wealth of experience that we are happy to share with you, or alternatively we have customers across the country who will talk to you about their thoughts on RSS Hereford.