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The second generation of Helados La Perla, 83-year-old José Molina, surrounded by the family that continues the business. Ramón L. Pérez
The historic ice cream business in Granada that used to bring snow down from the Sierra Nevada
Business

The historic ice cream business in Granada that used to bring snow down from the Sierra Nevada

Quality and commitment to the customer are the ingredients of the Molina Luzón family company's recipe for success

Andrea G. Parra

Granada

Wednesday, 17 April 2024, 21:45

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The entrepreneurial spirit of the Molina Luzón Albero family has kept the business going for decades and it is now members of the fourth generation serving the customers. Helados La Perla was founded in 1932 and is still going strong. Founded by Carmelo Molina, originally from Valencia, it is the oldest and most experienced ice cream manufacturer in Granada.

To make the ice cream in their first workshop located in Calle Varela they brought down the snow from the Sierra Nevada along the Neveros road. They then distributed the product in ice cream carts around different parts of the city.

This is how the history of this business, which is an icon in the city, the province and other parts of Andalucía and indeed across Spain began. Years later they opened another parlour in Plaza Nueva.

In that building, the first and second generation, with José Molina Nájera and Concepción Luzón Nadal at the helm, together with all their children, continued to make ice cream, slushies and milkshakes. Over the decades they have increased the variety of flavours and bought new machinery, always following the traditional recipes. This has always been the hallmark of this family business.

Los Molina Luzón in the Plaza Nueva ice cream parlour.
Los Molina Luzón in the Plaza Nueva ice cream parlour. R.L.P.

José Molina was born above the parlour in Plaza Nueva and now at the age of eighty-three, he reveals that he is still passionate about ice cream: "Every day I like them more and more," he jokes as the four generations meet for the photograph that accompanies this news report.

There have been many special dates and periods for this family. However, they always remember Holy Week with special devotion. "It was really a week of passion, a lot of work, many customers, few hours of sleep, but always without losing the smile and enjoying our traditions." In fact, they used to prepare lemon slushies for the brotherhoods, they recall.

Vicente Albero is the great nephew of Carmelo Molina. Cristina Albero, Vicente's daughter, is the fourth generation of the business and continues the work of previous generations along with her parents, which she says includes "excellent" customer service. Pepi says that she has always liked ice cream and jokes that she married an ice cream maker so that she would always have the sweet treat on tap.

 The factory 

In 1995, they moved the factory to Mercagranada, where they have more modern facilities, allowing them to expand production. In 2002, the third generation took over the management of the factory; José Alberto Molina Luzón as company manager and María José Garzón as commercial director.

After periods of intense training abroad, both in the ice cream sector and in the business world, they began selling to the Horeca sector, an acronym for hotels, restaurants and cafeterias. They did this by selling to the best ice cream parlours, cafés, restaurants, hotels and catering firms in the city, without losing the essence of Helados La Perla.

"Our customers trust us because of the high quality, experience, reliability and commitment that we offer them," explain José Alberto Molina and María José Garzón.

"Today we are a modern, innovative and sustainable family business with a professional team that offers our customers the best ice cream and the best service", they stress. Behind a good ice cream there is, as they explain, a meticulous process of formulation and study that is far removed from the "fresh and sweet ice cream".

They are also known for their commitment to Granada city. "Helados La Perla is proud to carry the name of Granada to other parts of Andalucía and Spain, as our products are now sold nationwide," they say. They are delighted to have received an award from the city hall for the tradition and quality of their products.

The family remains tight-lipped when asked for the recipe for their ice cream, but they do give a few hints about their success. "Although the road has not always been easy, effort, perseverance, a job well done, enthusiasm and the trust of our customers have been key to not losing sight of our goal of being a benchmark in haute cuisine in our city and beyond, where the excellence of our products is valued", concludes the family.

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