HOW IT ALL BEGAN
THE R&R story in the North East began when Yorkshire farmer Johnny Ropner acquired Cardosi – a family ice cream maker at Thornaby, Teesside.
Previously, Ropner was a family name associated more with marine and other insurance broking, also a shipping company at Hartlepool, run from 1875 until taken over in 1997.
Four people made the ice cream initially, largely for Hintons supermarkets. This Middlesbrough-based chain was sold to Argyll in 1985, which merged with Safeway two years later, and faded further into history when Morrisons bought Safeway in 2004.
Johnny introduced the name Richmond Ice Cream and switched production to Leeming Bar around the time of Hinton’s takeover. The real take-off came in 2006 when the company was bought for £182m by Oaktree Capital Management, an American investment firm also owning Roncadin – Germany’s biggest own-label ice cream maker.
Thus came about R&R (Richmond and Roncadin) with a Leeming Bar flagship because of its connectivity, and the goal now is to become the largest, most profitable private label in Europe. R&R also has operations in Germany, Poland and France, and at Crossgates in Leeds.