The History of Hocking’s
It was Whitsun 1936 that Dave Hocking sold his buses to Southern National and started making ice cream. From the beginning he was determined to make a high quality West Country ice cream using butter and clotted cream. He bought an electric ice cream maker, many of his competitors were still using a hand machine frozen by ice and salt, and sought the advice from The Ice Cream Alliance on how to make a good quality product.
It quickly gained a good local reputation, and after the war he was joined by his two sons, David and Ernest, and the business began to grow. They would enter the ice cream competitions and won their first Diploma of merit in 1953. Since then another 76 have been added, the highest being a Bronze medal in 2005 and 2011.
Two of David’s sons joined in the 1970s, Geoffrey and Neil, followed by great grandson Andrew in 1990.
There are plenty of younger family members keen to help in the busy summer months, and last season we were helped by 7 great nieces and nephews!
Selling ice cream in North Devon today has changed very little since those days. It is still about presenting a clean wholesome image for a good first impression, and selling a product that customers are happy with for a reasonable price, from cheerful helpful staff. We believe an average of at least 65% of our customers live within a 15 mile radius and return week after week – even day after day!
” It is still a way of life for a small family business, I only ever intended doing it for a year back in 1971, but somehow the beautiful locations of our sites around North Devon, the friendly nature of people buying ice cream – who are often walking or enjoying the beach and only too ready to chat! were enough to convince me selling ice cream as part of a local community is a healthy and a happy way to spend your days.
As Grandfer reached the end of his working life at the age of 76, he was asked if he would change his life.
“No… I have enjoyed every moment“ he replied,
and I think I shall say the same.”
We believe it is important to put a great emphasis on making a good first impression. Each of our vans are washed outside and in everyday, the staff wear a clean white coat every day and we attend the sites in poor weather as well as good – the rain is so unpredictable during the summer, it often starts dull and ends up a glorious day!
We have 16 vehicles, from our first new CF in 1971 to the latest Whitby Mondial model. All are regularly used, and have even had Grandfer’s old Morris restored by the late Bryan Whitby. Our fleet also includes a Land Rover used for the beach or for events.