AN Ashington man found a way to add a dash of colour to his home town after opening a milkshake bar.
Chris Mason invested redundancy money from being paid off at Alcan into opening a milkshake bar Shakes, Cakes and Ices. He makes the milkshakes while partner Angie is responsible for the birthday, Christening and cupcakes.
The couple, who have three children Megan, 12, Chloe,10 and Owen, seven, were inspired by the popularity of milkshake bars when they visited the Metrocentre.
Mason, who spent nine years as a pot room operator and accredited instructor at the Lynemouth plant, said: “Clearly, my first priority was to secure a future for my family, so I did a lot of research and received great help from Rio Tinto Alcan who paid towards some first-class business training and a food hygiene and catering course.
“However, I also wanted to give something back to the town. The young people get a bad name and it is very unfair.
“They just need more options in terms of places to go and meet friends. They are really well behaved and great to talk to, they are a credit to the town and I am delighted to have been able to provide this facility for them.
“However, it is also very interesting that during the day when the kids are at school, we are attracting a mixed age group who are developing a real sweet tooth for our menu.”
“Angie designed the internal decor which includes walls that are coloured pink, lime green and orange with candy coloured wall paper.”
John McCabe, Rio Tinto Alcan regional economic development director, said. “Chris is one of a growing number of former employees who decided to run their own businesses.
“We are delighted to have been able to assist Chris through the training programmes and we wish him all the very best for the future.
“None of us wanted the smelter to close but since it has, it’s been very encouraging to see the fortitude of former colleagues who are now embarking on the next chapter of their lives .
“Our workforce was renowned for being hardworking and creative and it’s great to see these attributes being maintained after the very difficult closure of the smelter.”