Three Larne employees have bounced back from the shock of the Thomas Cook collapse to establish their own travel business.
Like many staff around the country, Ella Whiteside, Caroline Hunter and Louise Magill were facing an uncertain future after the long-established holiday company ceased trading in September.
Louise said: “We had been employees of Thomas Cook for a long time and were devastated when the news broke that they had ceased trading. It was such a shock.
“When the news broke in the early hours of Monday 23 September, we were gobsmacked. It was so strange not putting our uniforms on that Monday morning. Instead we gathered in Ella’s house and listened to a call hosted by KPMG, the official receivers.
“Following this call we were officially redundant. Off the three of us went to our local job centre to sign on. After this journey we made our way to the shop to meet the receivers and hand over the shop keys and grab some personal belongings. What an emotional morning.”
The trio mulled over future career options with home-worker, nursery and hospitality industry roles considered.
“This was all very daunting as we were used to working together and were an amazing team,” added Louise.
“That’s when we thought why don’t we do it ourselves. After getting all the necessary information we required, we decided, let’s do this.”
They sourced new premises at Larne Main Street after Hays Travel bought the Thomas Cook network of high street stores. And their confidence was boosted by the feedback from the public they have served for years.
“All the positive comments and loyal customers we have gave us the reassurance and extra push we needed.”
The Holiday Hotspot team is delighted to be opening the new premises today (Friday, November 15) with a sparkling reception.
“All customers whether old or new are more than welcome. We are delighted that we have had such an amazing response so far.”