Staff at the newly-opened Hays Travel in Talisman Shopping Centre have paid tribute to the people of Kenilworth for supporting them in its first month of trading.

The independent firm, which opened in place of Thomas Cook following the company’s collapse, has seen a stream of people visit the store and to express their happiness that the team are still there.

And manager Charlotte Stanbridge was very grateful for the support that Kenilworth has shown to the new store after it opened in October.

She said: “The news of Thomas Cook’s collapse came completely out of the blue. A lot of us had already started to look for new jobs as we had no idea about what was going to happen.

“When Hays Travel decided to take over the business and keep us on, we were all so relieved.

“Although we were obviously pleased to keep our jobs, the nicest thing was having our customers back – it’s them that we felt for the most when the shop closed.

“The support we’ve had from everyone in Kenilworth has honestly been fantastic. So many people have come in to say ‘we’re so glad you’re back’, which has been lovely to hear.

“We just want to thank all the townspeople for their support. Kenilworth’s shoppers have always championed independent businesses, and their reaction to us opening has proved that.”

Now Hays Travel is running the business, the staff have more freedom in what holidays they can offer customers.

Previously, holidays were limited to Thomas Cook flights and hotels, but now packages from all sorts of other companies can now be booked.

Charlotte added: “Hays has given us so much more flexibility in what we can offer, which has meant more customers are looking to book through us.

“Being located in Talisman Shopping Centre is great as well – it’s in a nice spot away from Warwick Road which can get quite busy, but we still get good footfall from Waitrose so it’s a nice balance.

“All the shops here really support each other too, and we love the strong sense of community.”

Hugo Hawkings, owner of Discovery Properties which developed Talisman Shopping Centre, was delighted to hear how well the store was doing since its reopening.

He said: “It’s wonderful to hear how well Charlotte and her team have been supported by the people of Kenilworth.

“A month since the store reopened, Hays is attracting customers old and new thanks to the friendliness of Charlotte and her team, as well as the wide variety of holidays Hays can offer.

“I’m really pleased for them and I hope Kenilworth continues to support this independent business.”

The store is also inviting customers to a ‘wine and mince pie day’ on Friday December 20 as a way of getting into the festive spirit and saying thank you to everyone for their support. All are welcome to attend.