Independent agency Cowbridge Travel has opened a second retail store in south Wales, just a year after the company was founded.
The first shop, in Cowbridge, was formerly part of the Tailor Made Travel chain, which was taken over by Hays Travel after the miniple went into administration in September 2020. The store remained open for six months but was closed in March 2021.
Just two months later, the agency was reopened under a new name after the building’s owner Pamela Thornton, a businesswoman with no prior experience in travel, approached the agency’s staff and suggested she start her own travel company on the same site.
Now, Cowbridge Travel, part of Hays Independent Group, has opened a second store in Porthcawl and taken on four new members of staff, all of whom have previously worked for Regal Travel.
The shop, named Porthcawl Travel, opened on June 23 in a former Tui site on the town’s high street, and will be open six days a week.
Branch manager Sara Williams moved from the original shop in Cowbridge, and is “thrilled” to have seen the company’s success in its first year.
“Pam has put a lot of faith in the staff and really took a chance on us,” she said. “We have all been in the industry forever and she knows we know what we are doing.
“We want to have the success of the Cowbridge store in the new premises and to build up a nice following of customers. We don’t like a hard sell; we like people to be able to come in without an appointment and have a coffee and a chat. People sell to people and if you know what you’re talking about then customers will respond.”
Williams added: “Pam hasn’t ruled out opening a third shop if she finds the right property.”
The agency specialises in cruise holidays and hopes its new site will target the same market.
Williams said: “Porthcawl has always been a massive cruise town and was formerly home to cruise specialist Traveland, so we are hoping to pick up the market there.”
In its first week, Williams said the agency had been “flat out” with bookings and received well wishes from people living in the area.
She said: “The opening was brilliant – it was a big party atmosphere and it felt fantastic to be open. We’ve had lots of interest in the first week.
“We’ve also had lots of people pop their heads in and say how nice it is to have a travel agency back on the high street, which is so great to hear.”