Despite the warmer days returning to Wrocław, the closure of two well-known ice cream parlours suggests that the city's desire for ice cream is waning.
The current plight of the ice cream market looks almost indistinguishable from a few years ago, when Wrocław's thirst for ice cream seemed to be almost limitless.
Back in 2014, nobody could have predicted the fanfare that would soon come the way of Polish Lody. Offering what they call "natural ice cream", the pl.Bema based ice-cream parlour quickly gathered a loyal following of customers willing to wait more than half an hour just to try their latest creation.
Polish Lody's huge success ultimately motivated a number of entrepreneurs to jump on the bandwagon, and soon a whole string of "naturalny lody" venues spawned at numerous locations across the city. Some of them offered a genuinely good alternative to Polish Lody, as well as the city's established ice-cream parlours such as Roma and Tralalala. On the other hand though, there were also countless tacky venues that merely set out to imitate rather than create.
The sheer amount of copy-cat ice-cream parlours that opened in 2015 left us pondering if some of these places would manage enough sales to pull them through the winter. In the summer before last, we reviewed Lizing, Kulka, Baroli and Beza-krówka. The first three of those ice-cream parlours did make through winter and continued trading through last summer.
The most recent winter was not so kind however, as the buildings once home to Lizing and Kulka now lie empty as spring approaches. Other lower profile ice cream places have also suffered the same fate since last summer.
How did this happen? Perhaps the current pączki trend ended up hitting the bottom line of these ice cream parlours, or maybe the rental costs simply proved overwhelming during the quieter winter months. Only the owners and those close to them will know the real answer.
The closure of these ice cream parlours is yet more evidence that blindly following a trend is very unlikely to yield long term success. In most the cases city's first proper pizzerias, gourmet burger bars, sushi restaurants, modern coffee shops and ice cream parlours are all still going strong.
This doesn't come as much of a surprise though, as in most cases these venues are born out of a passion and a desire to make something special. On the flip side, the places all motivated by a potential cash cow have all predictably fallen by the wayside.
So for all those budding restauranteurs or food-truck wannabees out there, the message appears to be that passion, creativity and originally will always be the key.