Cake shop on wheels to get Ipswich bakery business out and about

Rachel Halls (inset) with the ice cream van purchased for the mobile cake shop

The ice cream van will mean BMC Cakery can sell cakes all across Ipswich, Felixstowe, Woodbridge and further afield - Credit: David Vincent / Rachel Halls

A popular Ipswich bakery is going mobile by converting an ice-cream van into a cake shop on wheels. 

Rachel Halls, owner of BMC Cakery, said she'd wanted to get a van since 2012, inspired by cupcake vans in America. 

But every time she searched for vehicles for sale there wasn't anything available - at least not in her price range.

When lockdown hit, going mobile seemed like the best business plan but other people having the same idea drove prices through the roof. 

She said: "We were debating whether or not to close one of our shops, because it is a big overhead for us, and this van was a good find. 

"We originally lost out on it but the first buyer was a no-show and we were next on the list."

Interior of ice cream van bought by Rachel Halls

The van interior will be pulled out and refurbished - but is still in a good condition - Credit: Rachel Halls

The Tomline Road store will be closing at the end of March, leaving Clapgate Lane as the flagship bakery, with the van being prepared for summer events. 

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"It's about being as unique as possible," Rachel said. "I think more and more businesses are going mobile, so we want to be a little bit different. 

"A lot of the ice cream van features will be staying - the Pied Piper chime and the sliding window - but it's going to be all the best bits of our business but on wheels. 

"I'm excited to be out and about; I get hidden away so much in the kitchen and I miss knowing who our customers are, so I'm aiming to be out once a week.

"And the flexibility is exciting, too. We can be in Felixstowe in the morning and Needham Market in the afternoon - we can kerb-stop for 15 minutes at a time if we want."

Owner Rachel Halls and her staff at the BMC cakery in Clapgate Lane, Ipswich. Picture: DAVID VINCENT

Owner Rachel Halls and her staff at the BMC cakery in Clapgate Lane, Ipswich. Picture: DAVID VINCENT - Credit: Archant

The feedback on social media has been "amazing" and BMC's Mobile Cakery is already booked for two wedding events, provided that the conversion is finished on time. 

Rachel has taken advice from another popular food van owner, Mark Dyer, with a view to getting the van ready in six to eight weeks' time. 

"It's so exciting," she said. "I feel like a child hearing the ice cream van. 

"The seller played the chime for me and I was back to being eight years old. I can't wait."