The broken 1940s electric milk float that’s become a mobile chocolate shop
(Artical from Plymouth Herald 15th July 2019)
We all dream of being the next Willy Wonka, living on a diet of chocolate and desserts and designing the next sweet obsession.
But one Plymouth man has made his dream a reality.
Nicholas has also converted a horse-box into a mobile chocolate shop which he takes to larger events, but it’s the electric milk float which is really driving attention.
Nicholas said: “I came across the milk float back in December, they were going to take it to the skip because they couldn’t get it to work. It was originally at Marjon Uni and used to transport washing across campus.
“They were going to get rid of it, but me being me, I said “Noooo!” I had too much heart in it, I had to have it.”
Nicholas converted the milkfloat in his grandmother’s driveway, where he previously converted a horse-box, but having two chocolate shop vehicles will have to be enough for now as Nicholas’ nan has told him “This is the last one!”
When Nicholas saw the milk truck it was broken and staff at the university didn’t think it could be fixed – but Nicholas got it working.
“I needed to make sure it would workfirst,” Nicholas said, “I got it running and when I realised it could drive, I started it and converted it into a mobile chocolate shop.
“Now I drive it around Plymouth, working in about an 8 mile radius.”
Nicholas also re-upholstered the seating in the vehicle, making the inside of the truck “like a photo booth,” popular with both adults and children who love wearing the milkman hat.
“You’ve got to be different – to stand out,” Nicholas says, and what perhaps makes Nicholas different is that his chocolates are often inspired by Plymouth.
His latest concept is a lighthouse chocolate bar, inspired by Smeaton’s Tower, as Nicholas feels that Plymouth is lacking in Smeaton’s Tower memorabilia.
His Cornish and Devon cream tea truffles contain locally sourced strawberries, cream and scones and have proven particularly popular.
Nicholas said: “I enjoy doing all of them, [especially] playing around with truffle flavours – I like seeing the reaction.”
The biggest challenge of running a business is timing, he says.
“It’s difficult being self-employed, it’s not easy. It’s important to get everything to balance,” Nicholas said.
But seeing the milk truck and horse-box come to life makes Nicholas feel proud and overwhelmed.