IF you have ever wanted to see what peanut butter, Tic-Tacs or popcorn tasted like in a milkshake, then a new shop in Bolton should be right up your street.
The Bolton M1LK SHAKE bar, to give its correct title, has got off to a roaring start with young and old queueing to get a taste of the myriad of flavours available.
Customers could be forgiven for calling owner Dan Place the Milky Bar Kid — as the young entrepreneur has just opened his third milkshake bar here in Bolton, giving the milk bar tradition that had its heyday in the 1950s and sixties a modern twist.
The 26-year-old businessman says there are thousands of combinations of flavours available in his shop in Corporation Street, and it has become very popular with young people.
They gather at the store and enjoy the social aspect of meeting with friends, as well as ordering weird combinations of toffees, fruit, milk and specially made ice cream, topped off with floaters or sinkers.
In the last year, Mr Place has set up and opened three M1LK SHAKE bars in Manchester, Bury, and now Bolton.
He had the idea for the milkshake bars when he was travelling the world with his girlfriend and ended up in an Australian hostel.
Mr Place said: “We used to have these competitions in the hostel where we would mix up all kinds of fruit and sweet flavoured milkshakes using an ordinary blender and they were great.
“Later, when we were in Asia and it was very hot, I used to think to myself, ‘I would kill for one of those milkshakes we used to make’. Then, when I came back to England and began working again, I decided to use my idea and recreate those flavours and open a milkshake bar in the food court in Manchester.”
Using his own money and some from his father, he negotiated a good rate to open in the food court and the first bar took off and attracted lots of young people, benefiting all the businesses.
He sourced special industrial strength blenders from the USA and has trained his 18 full and part-time staff to make sure they produce every milkshake to the right consistency.
He opened in Bury in the middle of the snow storms, but still the young people managed to get to the bar.
He opened in Bolton and has seen the concept take off — so much so people copy his concept. But he tells his staff: “We are the innovators and they are the imitators.
“Even though we are still learning, we have the quality over those who copy us.”
The secret to his success, he says, is in providing a wide variety of milkshakes made only with the best ingredients. Prices range from £2.50 to £4.
There are thousands of possible combinations of flavours from the 180 flavours, which include Jelly Tots, Oreo biscuits, caramel chews and Vimto.
Now, he has ambitions to open at least 10 shops in the next three years with a view then to franchising his idea to others.