A family-run business has become Ayrshire’s first ever Five Star Tourist Shop following a grading from VisitScotland.
Geraldo’s, based in the seaside town of Largs, received five stars from the national tourism organisation’s Quality Assurance (QA) Scheme in recognition of its exceptional standards. The QA Scheme is a benchmark for quality across the tourism industry and operates across accommodation, visitor attractions and food sectors.
Opened in 2000 by owner Toni Dawson, the shop produces its own luxury ice-cream on site and specialises in handmade chocolates and premium spirits, as well as a range of seasonal gifts. The business gave itself the name Geraldo’s in 2016 in memory of Toni’s late father Gerald, who earned the nickname while playing football for Scotland as a young man.
Managed by Toni’s Mum, known as Sweet Caroline, ice-cream production began in 2005 and the business has won numerous awards for its creative flavour combinations. Both Toni and Caroline however maintain their greatest satisfaction comes from the look of delight on the faces of locals and visitors alike as they sample some of Geraldo’s ice-cream.
Toni works closely with several chocolate producers in the UK and Europe to sell a constantly changing range of top quality chocolates and also works with independent distilleries and craft producers as much as possible to offer a wide range of premium spirits.
A big supporter of the Scottish gin and whisky industry, Geraldo’s staff are accrediated as Gin and Whisky Ambassadors and the shop regularly hosts drinks tastings and masterclasses.
Toni Dawson, Owner of Geraldo’s, said: “To be awarded Four Stars in 2016 was fantastic, but to achieve this Five Star accreditation which we have strived towards over the last three years is just amazing. The suggestions made by the previous assessor were taken on board and we worked closely with our brand designers to implement as many of those as possible. This combined with the excellent team of staff we now have on board gives us much more confidence in delivering a more consistent experience for our customers both in the shop and online.”
Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “Congratulations to Toni and her team on this exceptional achievement. To achieve a Five Star grading is a testament to the hard work of this business to offer a quality visitor experience.
“Our Quality Assurance Scheme is world-leading and provides a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. It is about much more than just a star rating – it is about the entire visitor experience and investing in the business to make it as economically sustainable, and profitable, as it can be.”
For more information about Geraldo’s, go to www.geraldos.co.uk
For more information about VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme, go to www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/quality-customer-experience/quality-assurance-ratings
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