Bright future for town travel shop rescued by family firm
Sunderland-based Hays Travel bought up and set about re-opening all 555 of the stores forced to close when the historic, but debt-burdened travel agent collapsed into receivership towards the end of last year.
The Sleaford shop in Bristol Arcade re-opened on January 6 this year with a completely new staff of five, after previous employees found new positions elsewhere.
Assistant manager Corrinne Simmons said: “Everyone has been really supportive, saying how glad they are we are open. I think that is because they have heard about the owners, John and Irene Hays and their story as a family business which started from nothing. It is fantastic and something people want to hear. We also sell a great brand and hope that will get people to come in.
“It is such a family-orientated business, looking after staff wellbeing and welfare. They are really supportive with staff marketing and training.
“John Hays started off behind his mum’s shop in Sunderland and now he’s a millionaire taking on all 555 of Thomas Cook’s stores. They are very laid back and funny and it spreads through the business. We are more a family than a team and hopefully if we are happy we will all work and help to make the customer happy.”
Corinne said they had not had a visit from the boss yet but was confident he would get round to it.
They soon plan to hold an official open day with some culinary tastes from a few of the destinations on offer as an ice-breaker.
Being independent they offer a wider range of tours and packages, cruises as well as UK breaks and will be providing travel money soon.
Corinne said: “Trade has not been bad considering not everyone has realised we are open yet.”