A FAST-GROWING North Wales travel firm has completed the next phase of a £1m store refurbishment programme.

Bosses at Hays Travel North West, which has its head office in Wrexham, have finished a £200,000 transformation at three branches including the Mold store which was the first travel agency to be opened by Managing Director Don Bircham back in 2000.

Don’s travel firm empire now has 30 branches spreading across the North West and North Wales, having just signed a lease on his latest acquisition at Church Square shopping centre in St Helens.

The latest branches to receive a facelift alongside the Mold store in The Cross are Oswestry and Ellesmere Port and they form part of a rolling £1m refurbishment programme for the financial year.

The group’s three Bolton branches have already benefitted from a £250,000 makeover and there is a remaining £500,000 to be spent before the end of the company’s financial year in November on four Wirral branches – Birkenhead, Bebington, Prenton and Wallasey.

Don Bircham, Hays Travel North West Managing Director, said: “I know our customers are going to notice a huge difference when they visit our newly refurbished stores which we are really proud of.

“The major investment in the stores is all part of our commitment to the communities and customers we serve. Their support of our stores is helping our business to thrive.

“We are keen to reinvest to make sure our stores are modern, inviting, light and clean places to visit so people can relax and enjoy the experience of booking their holiday with us. We are spending quite a bit of money at each to ensure the refurbishments are robust and stand the test of time.”

For Don, the refurbishment of the Mold branch has marked a milestone in his successful business career.

The father-of-two of Padeswood said: “Without any shadow of a doubt, transforming our Mold store has been a highlight for me. Mold was the first store we opened, back in 2000, without two ha’pennies to rub together. I went with my wife Ruth to Ikea to buy the desks and we painted it ourselves and put some shelves up. It was absolutely a DIY job and I am proud of where we have come since then.

“It probably cost us no more than £5,000 to get up and running at Mold and we have just spent closer to £70,000 on the latest refurbishment.

“It has been a very successful site for us. The manager there Lydia, who is off on maternity leave at the moment and has just had a little boy called Noah, is very well thought of and people will queue up to book their holidays with her.

“We have also just taken on three new members of staff, who all bring a wealth of experience with them in the travel industry. Two have joined us following the closure of the Thomas Cook store in Mold and we are delighted to welcome them and their extensive travel knowledge to the team.

“The store has always been popular and now the team there books upwards of 3,000 holidays a year for people from the community.”

News of the refurbishment comes after Hays Travel North West launched a major recruitment drive to find 20 new apprentices.

The firm’s bosses started a comprehensive apprentice scheme three years ago and it has been so successful that they are looking again for a new wave of fresh intakes.

This comes on the back of a general 60-job recruitment drive launched at the end of last year as the company started expansion plans to open 12 new shops by the end of 2018.

To find out more about recruitment opportunities call 0800 2155045 or go to www.haystravel.co.uk/careers