Licked: Qld ice cream company slashes jobs

 

THE unmistakeable bell sounding the arrival of a Home Ice Cream truck may soon fall silent in some areas, with the iconic Queensland company revealing it will rationalise the business.

Toowoomba-based company Home Ice Cream, which has been a staple on Australian streets for three decades, will downsize its operations amid tough economic conditions.

Four employees have been made redundant following the closure of the family-owned company's Gold Coast depot about one month ago.

Home Ice Cream was started in 1989 by Keith Reisinger and operates 12 franchises in Queensland, according to its website.

This week 11 of its South Australia employees were made redundant after the company chose to cease operations in the state.

The future of the Queensland business, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is now under a cloud.

It comes as Australian Securities and Investments Commission documents reveal Wex Australia - which operates the Motorpass fuel card - made an application in the Victorian Supreme Court to wind up the ice cream business.

Home Ice Cream vans have been a fixture on Australian streets since 1988.
Home Ice Cream vans have been a fixture on Australian streets since 1988.

Home Ice Cream managing director Beth French told the Courier Mail the company "strongly contests" the winding up application.

"No moneys are currently owed to Wex and the winding up application was filed in error," she said.

"The future of Home Ice Cream throughout Queensland and Australia, with a rationalised footprint taking account of competitive forces in the retail sector, is strong."

"Home Ice Cream will be directing all our efforts into our most profitable markets, with Queensland definitely being one of those.

"Regarding tough economic times, rising costs for all businesses are a key consideration, especially rising electricity, fuel and insurance to mention a few."

A franchise employee, who did not wish to be named, struggled to get answers from head office as concerning rumours swirled about the future of the company.

"I am concerned because you don't know what's going on," they said.

The employee said they had invested substantial time and thousands of dollars in the franchise.

Home Ice Cream trucks crisscross Queensland streets offering bargain products including choc-coated ice-creams, splits, milk bars and Gary Gumball.

All products are made on the Darling Downs.

"Home Ice Cream wishes to thank those staff and customers who together have made history in being part of the first bulk ice cream delivery service in Australia that delivered frozen treats directly into the homes of our friends all over Australia," Ms French said.