The sad demise of Ocky White might also have signalled the end of the road for its in-store travel agency, but current owner Mark White, grandson of founder Ocky, had other plans.
Along with fellow director Anna Reed and a passionate team of consultants, Mark set about re-establishing the family name with a new agency: Ocky White Travel, offering “a bit of everything” to west Wales’s holidaymakers, from bucket-and-spade European breaks to tailor-made long-haul itineraries.
Anna admits to having been nervous about starting out from scratch and in a new location, but just 13 months after opening its doors, the agency had scooped a Radio Pembrokeshire Business Award: Ocky White was well and truly back.
Fast-forward to January 2017 and the agency is currently riding high on the back of 30% growth last year – so much so that Mark is even mulling expansion.
A stalwart throughout the store’s rebirth has been its mascot Rusty Bear, who is arguably as well travelled as many in his industry, with a charity expedition to the South Pole proudly part of his CV.
Since its revival, Ocky White Travel has been homed in a former amusement arcade just off the town’s high street and it’s clear the team is keen to keep up its own sense of fun in the workplace.
They employ a “work hard play harder” attitude, with regular staff nights out and a weekly KitKat Award, where top-notch customer service is rewarded with a chocolaty treat. The way the team rallied around a honeymoon client undergoing cancer treatment who was in need of a wedding dress last year is a case in point.
The staff turned personal stylists, helping to find, choose and adjust the dress to create the perfect outfit for her big day. “It wasn’t about getting the booking,” recalls Anna. “Just doing what we could to make her feel special.”