Scarborough's newest independent travel agent Pebble Shore Travel opens its first shop
Scarborough's newest independent travel agent has flung open its doors after moving to a retail premises for the first time.
Pebble Shore Travel has made the move to its first brick-and-mortar shop after it was set up exclusively as an online homeworking company seven years ago by owner Rachel Dartnall-Smith.
An independent travel agent with more than 20 years industry experience, Rachel took the plunge into a new physical outlet despite experiencing what she said was the "toughest time for travel in living memory".
"I had originally planned to open a store early last year," Rachel said. "But the Covid-19 pandemic changed all that. Like many travel agents, all I seemed to do was months and months of nothing but cancellations, refunds and re-bookings.
"Pebble Shore Travel has lots of loyal customers who have re-booked, but I wasn't earning anything and it was very demoralising at times. However, I wanted to stay in the industry I love and it made me more determined than ever to open a shop."
It was at this point that a friend mentioned the retail units available at the indoor market hall, which are spread across three floors of the Grade II listed Victorian building.
"It has been a big investment for me, even with a relatively small shop like this, but I knew the time was right to branch out," Rachel said.
"We're finding that existing and new customers are keen to come and see us in person to help them through the paperwork and forms that now accompany travel and holidays abroad," said Rachel. "Even though we’re only a phone call or email away, it’s been a genuine surprise just how many people still prefer that face-to-face interaction.
"We try to be fully committed to each and every customer, and want to make their holiday experience perfect from beginning to end. I've been in the travel business for quite a while so I know where and when to get the best deals. And if I don't know, I know someone who will!
"We’re looking forward to helping the people of Scarborough fulfil their holiday dreams."
The new shop is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm within Scarborough's Market Hall on St Helen's Square.