How It All Started
The idea for G&D’s developed out of the experience of an Oxford University student, George Stroup, who founded the business in order to provide a few basic things for the local community: great ice cream, reasonably priced quality food, friendly, convenient service and a bright, unpretentious atmosphere.
Before G&D’s, Oxford lacked good ice cream. Consumers were stuck with a ‘non-choice’ of low quality national brands and the ‘cheap and cheerful’ stuff sold from roving vans - typically these products contained a myriad of artificial ingredients, colours, stabilizers and softeners, and often lacked any cream at all! (Sadly, the latter was permitted by labelling laws.)
Another key motivation for starting G&D’s was that Oxford lacked bright, easy-going places where you could stop-in and have a hot drink and something to eat without suffering the triple insult of indifferent service, inflated prices and dire food.
Against this background, George was convinced that Oxford was ripe for the fusion of ideas he called the ‘Ice Cream Café’ which had been evolving in his mind almost from the day he first arrived. Finally, in the Spring of 1991 after overhearing yet another group of people - this time at Oriel College - discussing the Oxford scene such that they essentially listed the key motivations for the Ice Cream Cafe, George decided it was time to move from concept (and what had become a fairly detailed business plan) to reality. Over the next several months he - with the assistance of a host of friends and other helpers - found suppliers of fresh rich cream and other natural ingredients to make a range of creative ‘super premium’ ice cream flavours; travelled to an ice cream machine company in the USA and asked them to design a top-of-the-line machine that would always make great ice cream (the head engineer kept his promise to make a machine ‘in the spirit of Rolls Royce’); located a convenient and central shop space in Little Clarendon Street; assembled all the necessary kitchen equipment, work tops, tables, chairs, display freezers, crockery, etc. Long hours of loading and unloading, sawing, hammering and painting followed. When the dust settled it was the summer of 1992 and G&D’s was born!