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A Warm Welcome for New Bargoed Business A local business, Thompson Services has opened its first showroom on Hanbury Road in Bargoed town centre. @The Stove Centre is located opposite the Police Station close to the new Lowry Plaza development and sells a range of stoves and wood burners. Thomson Services is a family business run by Marc Thompson and was first established in 1998. The firm undertakes installations of stove & wood burners, flue maintenance as well as general building works. Marc said: @The Stove Centre we not only sell stoves and wood burners but also offers a full installation and servicing package. This means that we can build strong relationships with our customers over the lifetime of the product.
Change of Career Brings Success Six years ago lifelong teachers Keith and June Anthony decided to take early retirement from teaching to open the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Caerphilly Town Centre. The centre is located in Castle Street and currently has 100 pupils aged between 5 and 18. The centre offers tuition in English and Maths. Keith was previously a Head of Year at Cardinal Newman Secondary School in Pontypridd, and June was a primary school teacher at Nant y Parc School in Senghenydd, so between them they have a wealth of teaching and academic experience. The decision to leave teaching and run the Kip McGrath Education Centres as a franchise was driven by a desire to spend more time actually teaching. Keith said: At Kip McGrath we aim to build a long-term relationship with our clients, which allows us to make a real difference to their academic performance. Whether someone is with us a few years or just a few months our real joy is what we call the ‘light bulb moment’, when a piece of work just ‘clicks’, which – for any good teacher – makes it all worth while. June said: We operate on first name terms at the centre which helps us create a relaxed learning environment, we emphasise that this isn’t school! We enjoy focusing on purely teaching with no distractions.
Caerphilly Searches for the next Great Artist Y Galeri, Caerphilly town centre’s art gallery, is staging an Open Art Exhibition between 7th January – 11th February. The open competition is sponsored by Caerphilly Town Council and is an annual event for amateur and professional artists alike. The artworks are selected from open submissions and form an eclectic mix of 115 wall hung and freestanding artworks. All work is for sale and artworks can be reserved with a deposit. A panel of judges will select the exhibitions winner and runner up and the winners will be revealed at the end of January. Visitors to the gallery during January are welcome to participate in the selection process by voting for the ‘Visitors Choice’ award. Gallery owner Jan Pennell said: We would like to thank the Town Council for their support. The Open Art event enhances the town’s artistic reputation and provides a platform to showcase the diverse wealth of Welsh talent. Each year we spot several emerging artists to whom we offer exhibition space & advice which helps them develop their career within the arts. Each year as the event grows it draws more visitors to Caerphilly. Y Galeri is situated in the heart of Caerphilly town centre on the ground floor of the Visitor Centre, opposite Caerphilly Castle.
New Shop Captures Niche Market A new shop in Caerphilly town centre is catering for an increasing number of customers who are looking for clothing which allows them to express their individualism. Mojo King (Caerphilly) is situated in Clive Street, which is located at the top of Cardiff Road. The independent clothing retailer is run by James Parker and stocks a range of men’s apparel as well as shoes and accessories which are inspired by the 1960’s. James had previously worked at Mojo King in Wellfield Road Cardiff and had known the owner Paul Reeves for many years. Paul felt the time was right to expand the business and offered James the opportunity to start the Caerphilly business as a franchise. The shops design and merchandising are inspired and influenced 1960’s, even down to the Motown music playing in the background. James said: At Mojo King we aim to provide our customers with a truly distinctive shopping experience. Since we opened we have had lots of customers come in including young people who love the ethos of the 1960’s and are looking for a different way to dress which lets them stand out in the crowd. James continued: Although you don’t have to be a total lover of the 60s to appreciate the style and brands on offer, the appeal of a unique, smart jumper, shirt, pair of trousers or a coat is across all ages and generations.
Pizza Hut Arrives in Blackwood A new Pizza Hut take away has opened in Blackwood town centre. The famous brand is located on High Street at its junction with Pentwyn Road and is close to the Blackwood Miners’ Institute. The store is operated as a franchise by Khorum Amin who was a Civil Engineer before deciding it was time to swap building bridges for making pizza. Prior to being accepted to run a Pizza Hut as a franchise applicants are put through a stringent vetting and selection process. Khorum said: I decided it was time to run my own business and so I applied to Pizza Hut to operate a franchise. The whole process to get accepted was really tough because the Pizza Hut name means that people expect a high standard of quality and service and your store needs to meet those expectations.
The Great Bargoed Bake Off There is good news for fans of the hit TV show ‘The Great British Bake Off’, Bargoed town centre is going cupcake mad with the opening of a new business in High street. The new shop called Cupcake Heaven is run by Sian Hurley and is the culmination of a journey which has seen her turn her hobby of baking cupcakes into a full time business venture. Sian‘s Mum Alice had always encouraged her daughter to pursue her dreams and when Alice passed away a few years ago, Sian decided that the time was right to leave her office job and start baking full time. With the support of her husband David and children Brent, Matthew and Kelcie, Sian opened Cupcake Heaven in December. She now spends her days making and selling different flavoured cupcakes, as well as baking cakes for specials occasion which she hand decorates to create a totally unique design. Sian said: This has been an amazing journey and I can’t believe I now run a business doing what I love – baking!. At Cupcake Heaven we offer our customers the chance to try different cupcake flavor’s and if you want a special cake designed come and talk to me
Retailers Window Display in Aid of Local Charity This Christmas, a retailer in Blackwood town centre is lending their support to a local charity. Kismet, which is situated in Hall Street, has specially dressed its Christmas window in aid of CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) http://www.c-r-y.org.uk/. The charity supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected by young sudden cardiac death (YSCD). Sue Jenkins the owner of Kismet showed the window to Betty Thomas whose grandson Jack Thomas died suddenly when he was 15 years old. Jack‘s parents June & Grant have already raised money through ‘Jacks Appeal/Welsh Hearts‘ to provide defibrillators to all comprehensive schools in the County Borough and through a memorial fund set up through CRY they are funding twice yearly cardiac screening sessions at Oakdale Medical Centre. Each session screens 111 people between the ages of 14-35 and takes place on the Saturday closest to Jack‘s birthday on 6th June and on the anniversary of his death on 12th February. Sue said: We are delighted to help raise money for CRY in memory of Jack. I hope people will take time to stop and enjoy the window and make a donation to the charity in appreciation. Betty Thomas said: The work that CRY are doing is so important and it really does save lives. Please support the funding of the screening program in Oakdale that Jacks parents have set up. Kismet and Betty’s Boutique in Blackwood town centre are both donating proceeds from their carrier bag sales over Christmas towards CRY in memory of Jack…
Sports Direct’s Biggest Fan David White is the manager of the Sports Direct store in Caerphilly town centre and it’s not surprising that he is a big supporter of the value sports retailer. What is surprising is where his journey working with the company has taken him. David, or Dai as he likes to be known, started out working in the retailers Cardiff city centre store for a few hours on a Wednesday afternoon. Over the next 12 years through hard work, commitment and dedication Dai worked his way up the retail ladder to become a store manager. Along the way he has visited almost every Sports Direct store in Wales as well as many in England, he has even gone to Austria and Germany to help train staff in the retailers European acquisitions. The Caerphilly store that Dai manages is located in Cardiff Road in the former Tesco building overlooking the castle; it occupies 7,700 sq. ft. of retail space and employs 18 staff. Dai said: Sports Direct is a great company to work for, they treat their staff really well and it’s like being part of a family. If you are prepared to work hard it doesn’t matter where you have come from or what qualifications you’ve got, you can have a great career with them.
Florist Grows from Small Beginnings A florist in Bargoed town centre is a growing success. Laurel’s Florist, which is situated on High Street, is run by Laura Roberts who has over 22 years of experience as a florist and has taught floristry across the UK & Ireland. The business grew out of work that Laura took on whilst running a fruit & veg shop in Bargoed. The demand for Laura‘s work became so high that she decided to focus purely on floristry and open her own shop – Laurel’s Florist. The florist specialises in weddings and funerals, but also sells accessories including scented candles and gifts. Laura said: Running a business is hard work but I really enjoy it. Each morning I travel to Cardiff to the market in Bessemer Road to make sure that the flowers in my shop are fresh. Even though I aim to keep the prices at Laurel’s cheap, I won’t compromise on quality. Pictured right: Laura Roberts