A NEW branch of the UK’s fastest-growing independent travel agency is set to open in St Helens creating six new jobs.
Bosses at Hays Travel North West have confirmed they have signed a lease for a new store in Church Square shopping centre in the heart of the Merseyside town.
Work is about to start on a £100,000 transformation of the inside of the unit, on Church Street, ready for opening time at the beginning of July.
It is part of a major expansion scheme launched at the end of last year by the travel firm which has 29 branches across the North West and North Wales.
The newest St Helens store, which will include a Bureau de Change, will take the total number to 30 with a further five branches predicted to be opened by the end of 2018. The new Hays Travel openings are collectively creating around 60 new jobs.
Don Bircham, Hays Travel North West Managing Director, said: “We have had our eye out for a suitable unit in St Helens for some time and we are delighted to have found it at Church Square which offers us a great central location in what is a terrific shopping area and a bustling community.
“We will now be working hard to transform the new unit with a £100,000 modern, high-spec makeover which we have across all of our stores so our customers feel welcomed and comfortable when they come to book their holidays with us.”
New branch manager Gemma Bate (corr) of Billinge, who previously worked for another travel agency in the town for 10 years, said: “As an independent travel agency, we can offer holidays from a huge range of different providers and tour operators and work with customers to find the exact holiday which fits their budget.
“Holidays are really important for people and their families so customer service is everything to us. Myself and the team will be on hand at the new store to help our St Helens customers find the perfect holiday.”
Church Square is home to 60 stores and includes big name high street brands such as River Island, Pandora, H&M and Costa as well as smaller independents.
Steven Brogan, Church Square Centre Manager, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Hays Travel to the Church Square fold. They are an extremely respected brand in the travel industry and will be a fantastic addition to our centre.”
Don, a father-of-two, set up his business with a single travel agency in Mold town centre, North Wales, in 2000.
His network of travel agencies are now the main partner of the hugely successful Hays Travel, based in Sunderland, which has just announced a turnover of more than £1bn and is the UK’s largest independent travel agency.
At the end of last year, Don’s firm announced a turnover of more than £50m for the first time.
Don added: “Hays Travel, which is ATOL-protected, is a well-recognised, solid and respected brand. Through Hays Travel we are able to offer a brilliant choice of holidays and we are not aligned to any particular tour operator so we can sell a wide range of holidays which fit the customer’s requirements.
“There is absolutely no pressure on our staff to sell a particular type of holiday so our customers come in and receive impartial advice without a particular emphasis on one tour operator. I think this is one of the main reasons people choose our branches to book their holidays.”