A new Polka Dot Travel shop run entirely by former Thomas Cook staff has opened in Longton.
Since the Polka Dot Travel store officially opened on 28 December in Stoke-on-Trent, the five-strong team has jumped straight into peaks and been busy with clients.
They were offered their former jobs back when the Cook shop - which is two doors down on The Strand - reopened as Hays Travel, but the group signed with Polka Dot instead.
"We were going through the tumult with Thomas Cook, and I have never been through redundancy before; I didn’t know in a couple of weeks we would be talking to Polka Dot to come back to our jobs to the customers we love in the town we love," said Donna Jones, Polka Dot Longton’s manager.
"Longton has always had a number of travel agents, so there is enough business for everyone.
"Even though you are offering the same thing, we are different people and a different service so I don’t think it will cause too much of a problem – and we are friends, we give them a wave in the morning."
The team operated from the shop’s empty shell during a transitionary period over Christmas, but now the premises is officially open.
Jones, who has been working in the travel industry for 16 years, said: "It’s business as usual, and it’s nice to not have so many rules and restrictions on what we can sell."
This is Polka Dot’s 18th shop, and the company plans to open 30 stores by the end of 2020.
When the shop opening was initially announced, Aislinn Tilsley, Polka Dot’s head of marketing and business development, said: “From the moment we met Donna and the team we knew that they would be a great fit for our business.
"They have shown great strength and resilience in the weeks after the Thomas Cook collapse and remained professional and committed to serving their customers."