Couple sweet on job

Mr Whippy franchise owners Linda and Steve Mitchell, of Cromwell, have helped community groups and schools raise thousands of dollars in the past 12 months and are looking forward to a busy summer. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Mr Whippy franchise owners Linda and Steve Mitchell, of Cromwell, have helped community groups and schools raise thousands of dollars in the past 12 months and are looking forward to a busy summer. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Just over a year after buying the Mr Whippy franchise from a Wanaka man and reintroducing the popular ice-cream van to the Wakatipu after a 12-year absence, Cromwell couple Steve and Linda Mitchell are "loving it".

Previously, the Mitchells were known to many as the district's Provender team but, having sold that business, they are now on the road full time, with two Mr Whippy vans on the go - and a summer full of bookings.

The couple have a van each.

While one focuses on events, the other does the street runs.

Each area is covered once a fortnight.

The Mitchells often attend community events and are privately hired for other occasions - including weddings - and have put "thousands" of dollars back into community groups and schools through fundraising, particularly throughout Central Otago.

"We did an event in Ranfurly [recently] and it was a huge success.

"People loved the fact that Mr Whippy came all the way from Cromwell to do the school sports.

"We used it as a fundraising exercise for the school."

While Mr Whippy sells ice creams at events, a percentage of the profits goes back to the school or group to help with fundraising.

"We did Relay for Life in Cromwell and we gave half of the money back to the Cancer Society," Mr Mitchell said.

"We're doing one for the CT scanner for Clyde in February.

"It's something that we've instigated throughout the Mr Whippy group."

Mrs Mitchell said they felt it was important to help people raise money wherever possible.

"I like to do it because we've had four children and we know what the costs are to send those children to different events.

"It's expensive for parents.

"If we can give something back to help other families out, it's a nice way of being able to help."

While some schools had a "PC" attitude towards ice cream, Mr Whippy was "right at the top of the scale", Mr Mitchell said.

"It's what you dip it in or roll it in, that's when it tips the scale."

Summer bookings are filling up, and the couple will spend New Year's Eve in different places.

"People are getting to know us and people are contacting us and asking us to come to events," Mr Mitchell said.

"It's just such a fun thing."