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The Business that Dresses for Success Husband and wife team Jonathan and Rachel Hooper have built Dunbar Costumes in Caerphilly town centre into a thriving business, but it all started from an idea they had to sell fancy dress costumes online. Dunbar Costumes opened its first shop in Bartlett Street in 2007 and within a few years the specialist fancy dress and party supplier found it needed more floor space. In 2013, the business relocated to a larger premises in Pentrebane Street.   Jonathan said: It is tough running your own business but we have worked hard and not been afraid to change and look at new opportunities. Our staff offer an amazing customer service and I think that’s a big part of our success.
Costa Coffee Chooses Blackwood High Street Costa Coffee has opened a new shop in Blackwood town centre in what was formally the Coed Duon Public House located next to New Look on High Street.     The national coffee chain, operated by a Welsh franchisee, has spent the last few months making extensive renovations to the building in order to create its signature fit out which can seat in excess of 50 customers. In opening its new Blackwood shop Costa Coffee has created 11 jobs for local people.     Manager Siobhan Clifton said: We are delighted to open in Blackwood and have had a great welcome from customers. Our aim is to bring something different to the town and work alongside existing businesses.  
Return of the Traditional Sweet Shop Chinkles is a sweet & gift shop located in The Market Place Shopping Centre in Blackwood. The shop is the second to be opened locally by owner Samantha Tomsett, the other is in Aberbargoed. Her aim is to create a unique experience for her customers including by: focusing on customer experience arranging rows of sweets in jars behind the counter displaying a mini Ferris Wheel laden with sweets in the window the Ferris Wheel stocked full of sweets is also available to hire for children’s parties. She said: Our aim is simply to make people happy! When someone chooses sweets or buys a balloon for an occasion it makes them smile. Having worked my whole life in retail I know how important it is that people enjoy coming into your shop
Family Business Powers Ahead A family run electrical retailer in Blackwood town centre goes from strength to strength. Blackwood Appliance is located in Emily’s Indoor Market which is located above Wilko’s on High Street. The business was started in 2011 by Mark Jones and not only sells a full range of brand new cookers, fridges and washing machines but also offers a repairs service. From small beginnings Blackwood Appliance has grown and Mark now works alongside wife Mandy and son Craig. The repairs side of the business stocks a full range of electrical spares ranging from cooker elements and vacuum cleaner bags to fluorescent tubes. Mark said: Its really important that we are a family run business who offer a great service. I have been selling electrical appliances for 31 years and so have gained a wealth of product knowledge which I use to help our customers.
Work experience of a lifetime awaits two hairdressing apprentices in Cyprus Two hairdressing apprentices from Caerphilly and Ystrad Mynach are preparing for a work experience opportunity of a lifetime. Hannah Voisey, 21, from Cracked Actors, Caerphilly and Luca Sparey, 19, from Spirit Hair Team, Ystrad Mynach, will fly out to Cyprus on April 9 where they will divide their 16-day visit between working in Cypriot salons and attending cutting, hair up and colouring workshops at The Hair and Beauty Academy in Paphos. To prepare them for the experience they have been taking Greek lessons to help them converse with their hosts. It’s the most ambitious work experience placement to date arranged by award-winning ISA Training, based in Bridgend, who are the largest independent hair and beauty training provider in Wales. A total of 15 apprentices from South Wales and Gloucestershire and two staff members are involved in the visit, which is being arranged as part of the company’s Oyster Project, which is based on the saying ‘The world is your oyster’. The project aims to enhance the learning experience of apprentices, increase their confidence and broaden their career horizons. Funding support is being provided by Erasmus+, the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport, which offers exciting opportunities for UK leaners to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe. ISA Training, which has arranged previous visits to Spain, Cyprus, Poland, Turkey and New York, is now seeking funding support for future trips to Spain, London and Finland. Last year, the company welcomed learners from Poland, Spain and Turkey as part of an exchange programme. This is the…
New Art Exhibition Flies into Bargoed A ‘pop up’ art gallery in Bargoed town centre has unveiled its final exhibition “I let myself be bird” which runs from 4th – 22nd April and comprises of photos taken by Stanka Koleva, a Bulgarian born photographer currently living and working in Berlin, Germany. Stanka began taking photographs after inheriting her first camera from her grandfather and learning the printing techniques she uses now from the owner of the last commercial darkroom in Bourgas. “I let myself be bird” is the 7th and last exhibition by the Kickplate Project which has used ‘pop up’ gallery in Hanbury Road since August 2015. The project has been financially supported of the Arts Council of Wales (Welsh Government and Lottery Funding), Caerphilly Arts Development and Bargoed Town Council. Project Director Dafydd Williams said: This is our final exhibition in Bargoed and we’re very happy to be showing Stanka’s beautiful and ethereal work as a farewell show. We’d like to thank everyone who has been coming to visit us in the past 8 months, we found the community in Bargoed very warm and welcoming and we wish we could stay longer. We’d also like to remind everyone they can still bring their old photographs and negatives to the gallery if they’d like to have them scanned    
New Business Provides Turkish Delight A new traditional Turkish barber has opened on Market Street in Caerphilly town centre. Male grooming is currently emerging as a growth area in the retail sector and Turkish barbers are proving particularly popular. Visiting a Turkish barber can include not only a haircut, but also a hot shave, beard trim, eyebrow threading as well as other male grooming services. The emphasis is on offering the customer a complete experience which is more than just a quick haircut. The business is run by brothers Hakan and Yayo Salak.   Owner Hakan Salak said: We were located in Trethomas but wanted to make the move to Caerphilly town centre, we managed to find a great property overlooking the castle and look forward to bringing something new to the people of Caerphilly.  
“We Are Ghosts” Exhibition A young artist Dafydd Williams is staging a new exhibition in Blackwood Miners Institute in Blackwood town centre over the next few weeks. Entitled “We Are Ghosts” the exhibition comprises of a series of photo’s which aims to highlight and help preserve the architectural beauty of South East Wales. Architects working in the valleys in the late 19th and early 20th century drew their inspiration from the great European cities and sought to create miniature versions of buildings from Vienna, Paris and London. Blackwood Miners’ Institute is the third and final destination of the exhibition which has been organised thanks to funding from the Arts Council of Wales. “We are Ghosts” is open to the public until the end of March. Dafydd Williams said: I really wanted to draw people’s attention to the architectural heritage of the area and so used black and white images. Each photo only shows the tops halves or details of the buildings so that the contemporary context doesn’t detract from the architecture.
Exotic Pet Shop Opens in Blackwood A new independent pet shop has opened in Emily’s Indoor Market which is situated above Wilko’s in Blackwood town centre. Feathers an Scales is run by Lauren Bailey who has turned her talent for hand rearing birds into a new business venture. The exotic pet shop stocks numerous birds of different breeds which are hand reared by Lauren in her home aviary, as well as snakes and other reptiles. Lauren said: I always wanted to run a pet shop as I love animals and breed reptiles and birds at home. Renting a unit in Emily’s Indoor Market has offered me a great way to establish my business in Blackwood. Emily’s has lots of small business like mine so please call in and see us. If you are interested in finding out more about how to rent a unit in Emily’s Indoor Market on Blackwood High Street please contact Sue Jenkins on 07920 054124
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