Former St Andrews Thomas Cook staff celebrate as store reopens

Thomas Cook collapsed last month.
Thomas Cook collapsed last month.

Staff at the former Thomas Cook branch in St Andrews have opened the doors at the store for the first time since it was taken over by Hays Travel.

The four staff at the store lost their jobs when the travel firm collapsed in September – but, three weeks later, with Hays Travel having acquired the 55 Thomas Cook stores around Scotland, the store reopened on Monday.

Three of the four staff have returned to their previous roles.

Manager Kath Wilson described it as “like coming home”.

“It’s all a bit surreal, a bit crazy,” she said. “It’s brilliant to be back. We can’t believe it.

“The amount of customers who have messaged us is amazing. Hopefully they’ll come in and book a holiday.

“The people have been brilliant. A lot of people were devastated when it closed. There were notes through the door saying they were sorry to hear about the news of the closure.”

Kath, who started at the branch back in 1991, along with some of the other staff, had been helping Thomas Cook customers with their holidays following the sudden collapse of the firm, despite being out of work. She says people who are having issues can still pop into the shop for help.

Jan Brown, who worked at Thomas Cook for 34 years, said returning to the store was like “going back to normality”.

“It’s surreal,” she added.

“We just want to thank all the customers for their cards and their support. I’m sure all of our customers will come back. We’re not going to abandon them now.”

Hays Travel acquired the entire retail portfolio of over 555 former Thomas Cook shops in the UK after it signed a deal with the Official Receiver and Special Managers at KPMG on October 9.

Twenty eight stores across Scotland have now reopened.

The company hopes to take on as many of the 2,500 former Thomas Cook retail employees as possible in the coming weeks, doubling its workforce.

John Hays, owner and managing director of Hays Travel, said: “We are delighted to have a presence in Scotland for the first time.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for all of us and we can’t wait to come up and meet everyone soon.”