Staff and customers of Cafolla’s of Conway Square, Newtownards give the thumbs up as they celebrate the re-opening of the shop on Saturday. Local lady Charlotte Arnold, (red coat) who along with her late husband Will had been customers of Cafolla’s for many years was asked by proprietors Riccardo and Catherine Cafolla to come along and perform the ceremony.

NEWTOWNARDS’ renowned ice-cream shop Cafolla’s reopened its doors at the weekend welcoming one of its most faithful customers as its first returning patron.The iconic shop in the town’s square was shut after a fire at neighbouring Cordner’s shoe shop brought business to a standstill almost three weeks ago.

Doing the honours was faithful customer, octogenarian Charlotte Arnold, who has been visiting the ice-cream parlour and fish and chip shop every day for decades. Sadly her husband, who she visited the cafe with on all those occasions, passed away just a day after the fire.

Ricardo Cafolla said Charlotte was the perfect choice for the honour of being the first customer back through the door. “Charlotte recently lost her husband Will and he was really well known in the town and passed away the day after the fire, but they were both really well known in Cafolla’s,” he said.

The fifth generation Cafolla to run the shop said that during her dear husband’s funeral she had commented that ‘it won’t be the same anymore without Will’. “They came in five days a week for the classic coffee without fail,” he recounted.

“So I asked her to be the first customer through the door. We all know her and all the regulars who also come. And Cafolla’s is still the same, there’s just a few wee changes but it’s still the same really. It was my grandfather who first introduced the classic coffee. He had tried to introduce the espresso that he had been used to, in Italy but everyone was still used to their teas, and coffee was still quite an alien taste so they decided ‘let’s make something a little lighter’ because people just didn’t like the espresso.

“So we came up with a milky cup of coffee and we still have an older generation that still come in for it,” he said.