AN ICE cream parlour that pulls in crowds from across the North East is set to scoop more trade by expanding.
Lickety Split, in Seaham, is doubling its capacity in response to demand, with an extension to take its seating area up to 100 customers.
Since launching in 2009 with a team of four staff and owner Cindy Bettcher, the business has won awards and now has 18 employees.
The £40,000 investment will include a grant of up to £25,000 being supported by East Durham Business Service, with the remainder private cash.
Cindy, 60, left her customer advisor job with BT in Sunderland to follow her dream of running the creamery after fighting breast cancer. She said she was “delighted” at the success of her venture.
She added: “It’s passed planning and now it’s with building regulations and we’ve already got the tender out for the builders.
“It should be complete ready for the summer.”
Included in the project will be a party corner, a bigger store room and an outside seating area and a new kitchen.
The move to increase its sizes comes after a decision not to pursue legal action against Fulwell rival Lickerty Lick after seeing no impact on the number of visitors since it opened last summer.
Cindy has now been joined in the business by son Carl Thompson, 37.
He is helping to set up a community initiative through the parlour to boost good causes in the area.
Collections will be held for a week for each organisation, with Dawdon Community Centre the first to sign up for backing.
Carl said: “We wanted to do something to give something back because we get a lot of custom coming to us and we know our customers would like to help the kids’ groups.”
Other organisations who would like to receive support are being encouraged to get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org
The business is also involved in hosting a Dirty Dancing Ball in aid of Breast Cancer Care at Rainton Meadows Arena, which now has a revised date of Saturday, April 21.
Tickets are £55 from the ice cream shop and includes a three- course meal, entertainment, raffles and auctions and dance finale.