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High Street Sees a New Name A new name has appeared in Blackwood town centre Bateman Opticians, which for the last 30 years was called Peter Hong Opticians and is situated on High Street near Pentwyn Road. The new owner of the business is Elliot Bateman, who was already working for the independent optician and is keen to build upon its long association with the town. In addition to providing a range of glasses, the optician also offers a contact lens service. Elliot said: Although the name has changed, our staff and values are the same and I am delighted that Peter Hong is also still involved. At Bateman Opticians we will continue to provide our customers with the modern, friendly, personal care that they have come to expect from us.
Simply the Best Solution Fooks & Co has been in existence since 1896 and in Bargoed since the early 1970s making it one of the longer established businesses in the town centre. Back in 2014 when the current owner David Collins needed a new tenant for the buildings ground floor, following the closure of the national Santander Agency Network, his wife Jayne came up with the perfect solution. She decided to open a new shop in the space called Simply-at-Home. The shop is an expansion of Jayne’s existing business called Simply Christmas and stocks a range of gifts and household decorative items, many of which are sourced from France and Germany. Jayne said: It’s the perfect solution enabling us to grow the business. Many of the items we sell in Simply-at-Home are unique to us which means our customers can find that special gift. David said: Fooks & Co is a trusted, long established firm of accounts and business advisors. Locating business here works really well, we have done exactly what we advise clients to do – be open to new opportunities!
Pokémon Go to The BIG Cheese! This weekend, Caerphilly welcomes thousands of visitors for its annual BIG Cheese event. As well as enjoying the funfair the council’s Town Centre Management team are urging people to top up their collection of Pokémon by searching Caerphilly town centre for ‘Pokestops’ and ‘Pokémon Gyms’. The new game, which is played on smart phones, uses mapping technology to show players where they can find ‘Pokestops’ and ‘Pokémon Gyms’ at famous landmarks and Caerphilly town centre is full of great places for Pokémon to hide. Here are some landmarks in the town where you could try looking for Pokémon! Starting at the BIG Cheese site: Park Gates – Owain Glyndwr Playing Fields Information Point – Dafydd Williams Park Druid Circle – Dafydd Williams Park Caerphilly Castle – Bronze Information Point (Opposite the Visitor Centre) Tommy Cooper Statue St Fagan’s Gate – St Fagan Street Green Lady Street Art – Pentrebane Street St Martins Church The council is also keen to remind people that they should always ensure they play Pokémon Go safely, and pay particular attention to traffic. Photo by Yoshikazu TAKADA modified, overlaying over town centre locations.
More Tea and Cake? Steve and Kim Dyer made the decision to change careers from the public sector to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition to run their own tea room. The Grazing Ground, situated in Cardiff Road in Caerphilly town centre, was formally a coffee shop before they took it over in 2013. Steve Dyer, Lisa Randall and Kim Dyer at The Grazing Ground The traditional tea room offers customers an array of loose leaf teas as well as freshly baked homemade cakes, light snacks and hot meals. They are also licensed to serve alcohol and the menu caters for specialist dietary needs such as gluten free and vegan. Kim said: At the Grazing Ground we continually strive to offer a seasonal menu where possible, providing our customers with a choice which has something for everyone. We feel we’ve created an exceptional friendly, family orientated environment.
The Shop that Sells Nearly Everything There is a shop in Bargoed town centre that seems to sell nearly everything you could need to maintain your home. From paint to wallpaper, hardware to fancy goods and light-bulbs to lamps, Decofore on Hanbury Road is the place to go. The family run business, which was established over 30 years ago, is currently being run by husband and wife Kash and Narinder Dhariwal. The store also has a paint mixing machine enabling customers to choose the perfect colour which will then be mixed in store whilst you wait. Kash said: We have lots of regular customers and I hope they see Decofore as a place where they get great one to one service
Pokémon Choose the High Street Caerphilly’s town centres have joined the Pokémon craze, with the council’s Town Centre Management team encouraging people playing the new Pokémon Go game to visit their local town centre in order to find ‘PokéStops‘ and ‘Pokémon Gyms‘. The popular game which has become a global phenomenon, uses mapping technology to show players where they can find ‘PokéStops‘ and ‘Pokémon Gyms‘ at famous landmarks, churches, buildings and statues – making town centres great places for players to visit, both to play the game but to enjoy the town centre while they are there too. The Town Centre Management team are also calling on local businesses to make use of the unique opportunity to engage with players who are using town centres to search for Pokémon. Shops located near ‘PokéStops‘ could advertise this in their shop windows, and café owners could create space for players to sit and play the game (and even offer phone recharging facilities) and offer small discounts on refreshments to players. With a new trading update due to be added to the game, the future promises even more opportunities for businesses to increase the time budding ‘Pokémon trainers‘ spend in local town centres. Cllr Ken James said: This is a fantastic way for people to explore their local town centres. I hope that businesses will really show their entrepreneurial spirit, and take this opportunity to engage with a whole new generation of customers. The council is also keen to remind people that they should always ensure they play Pokémon Go safely, and pay particular attention to traffic. …
Look Who’s Expanding in Caerphilly Specsavers has opened a new optical and audio centre on Cardiff Road in Caerphilly town centre. The new centre, which employs 30 staff, is operated under a franchise by Directors Robert Evans and Geraint Jones who are both qualified opticians and Retail Director Paul Melton. Before moving, Specsavers occupied a prime high street site on the corner of Cardiff Road and Park Lane for over 22 years. The new facility boasts 7 optical examination rooms, as well as an audiology room for hearing tests and an on site laboratory to make up prescriptions. Geraint said: This new Specsavers is a huge step forward in terms of the level of care we can offer our patients using the very latest technology. We have also invested in the welfare of our staff by providing them with a new rest & kitchen area.
Meet the Boss From postal workers to bus drivers, shop workers to office staff, all can be found patiently queuing at the door of Cwm Bakery waiting for their turn to buy a hand made roll, a freshly baked pasty or simply pick up a loaf of locally sourced bread. The bakery is located on the corner of Gravel Lane and the Market Place in Blackwood town centre and has been run since 2009 by Nathan Bram. Before deciding to run his own business, Nathan worked in a factory but always had an interest in food and baking. Nathan said: As a business Cwm Bakery diversifies a lot, as well as selling a range of products in the shop we also run a delivery service to local factories and offices. It’s hard work running a business but I love being my own boss
Welsh Artist’s New Exhibition Opens in Caerphilly This summer, Y Galeri Caerffili hosts a new exhibition by Welsh artist Louise Collis. Entitled Forty@Forty it features 40 landscape paintings of places which are significant in the artist’s life. The gallery, which is located on the ground floor of the Visitor Centre opposite Caerphilly Castle, specialises in showcasing the work of established and emerging artists. Y Galeri Caerffili was set up in 2015 by Jan Pennell who formally ran the art gallery at Rhondda Heritage Park. Jan has turned her love of art and eye for spotting talented artists into a successful business. The exhibition space is supported by a range of exclusive and handcrafted contemporary arts and crafts such as jewellery ceramics, glass and textiles. Jan said: Our ethos to promote Welsh art and Welsh artists will hopefully help boost the development of the arts in the area and put Caerphilly on the map as a centre for culture. We certainly seem to be gaining a reputation with the local community and visitors alike. (Photo – Jan Pennell left / Louise Collis right)