Mark Toney’s sold in deal which keeps ice cream firm in family

Popular ice cream business Mark Toney’s has been sold to new owners after more than 130 years of trading on Tyneside – and the business is staying within the family.

The firm’s owner Antony Marcantonio – the great grandson of the gelateria’s founder – last year announced plans to retire, after dedicating his life to growing the business. Mark Toney’s has served generations of families across Newcastle since the first shop opened its doors inside the Grainger Market in 1892, after Antonio Marcantonio brought a taste of Italian ice cream to the historic market from a tiny mountain village near Rome.

Expansion in the 1960s and 1970s led to two new ice cream parlours and coffee shops, run for the last few decades by Mr Marcantonio and his wife Anne. Now Mark Toney & Co Limited – which includes the two shops, a factory and offices on Benton Square Industrial Estate – has been sold to new owners in a deal overseen by specialist business property adviser Christie & Co.

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New co-owner and managing director, Chris Raynes, is also a direct descendant and great great-grandson of Giovanni Marcantonio.

Mr Marcantonio and his wife said: “We are thrilled to have finally sold our business and excited to begin our retirement. Mark Toney & Co has been our family business since 1892, so taking the decision to sell was not one we made lightly.

View Of The North: Subject: Sunday Morning Market. Location: Newcastle upon Tyne. Date: 1975 Children buying ice creams from a Mark Toney ice cream van at the Sunday morning market on Newcastle Quayside, April 1975. USE ON: 02-08-14

“To that end we are immensely pleased to have been able to retain the business within the family and we hope to see Mark Toney continue to thrive and grow. We’d like to say a huge thank you all of our customers and employees, some of whom have been with us a lifetime!”

Mr Raynes said: “I am incredibly proud to have acquired this thriving business with an amazing personal family history. To be in a position to be able to continue in the footsteps of my ancestors is an absolute privilege and honour.

“I know there are some huge shoes to fill. This was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass by. Having spent many of my younger years working both in the factory and on the ice cream vans, the business has enormous sentimental value for me and is certainly not simply an investment.

“Antony and Anne have been incredibly supportive of my ambition to buy the business and we’ll be working closely together to ensure a smooth transition. I’m very excited to get to know all of the highly valued employees and customers alike and would like to reassure everybody that there will not be any disruption to the business as the reins are handed over.”

David Cash, associate director in Christie & Co’s hospitality team handled the sale and added: “We received a huge amount of interest in Mark Toney & Co when we went to market last year, mainly from existing hospitality and catering business owners and retailers. We also had interest from private individuals who saw value in such a long-established business and were looking to step into Antony and Anne’s shoes.

“Obviously, Mark Toney is a household name in and around Tyneside and the news that our clients had taken the decision to sell was widely covered by local press. This interest meant that we achieved the full asking price for the business – a fantastic result for Antony and Anne who have been an absolute pleasure to work with. I am really proud to have helped them achieve their goal in retiring.”

Jabad Jaigirdar of JLF Law Firm acted for the sellers along with Michael Moran of Robson Laidler Accountants & Business Advisors, with John Morgan of Hay & Kilner Law Firm and Anna McGill of Keystone Law acting for the purchasers alongside Stuart Datlen of Moore South UK Accountants and Business Advisors.

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