THE OPENING of a new store at Parc Pemberton saw Llanelli residents queuing up to check out the goods on sale.
The 145th branch of the Range store opened last Friday (Sept 15) and The Herald was given a grand guided tour of the new store.
Llanelli dignitaries were also given the red carpet treatment at the official launch at 9am.
Llanelli Town Mayor Cllr Jeff Edmunds, Head of the Rural Council Cllr John Evans and his Consort Cllr Sylvia Evans thoroughly enjoyed seeing what was on offer. Cllr John Evans cut the ribbon at the eagerly awaited launch.
Eager customers queued outside the Range, which has stores dotted around many areas of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The franchise stocks a wide variety of homeware and has something for all tastes at a competitive price.
The Herald spoke to Range Chair and Owner Chris Dawson. He had arrived in style via helicopter at Machynys golf course prior to the store’s official opening.
Mr Dawson journeyed from his home in Plymouth in Jersey to welcome the excited crowd. The event was hosted by the Wave radio Station which provided music and competitions throughout the day. A ‘guess the contents price of the trolley’ with a prize of £250.00 store spend proved especially popular amongst visitors.
Mr Dawson started The Range franchise some 25 years ago and the reputable business has gone from strength to strength. The Parc Pemberton outlet is measured at approximately 40,000 square feet including the mezzanine floor and has aided in securing local employment for nearly 80 members of staff.
The Herald heard that Mr Dawson’s visit was part of a week-long business trip: “I’m in Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday (Sept 19-20) developing and buying stores. I started the business 25 years ago and have invested in various things.
“I’ve got manufacturing plants over in southern Ireland as well as the UK, there’s a lot going on, we can’t say what it is yet. We’ve a massive and an exciting announcement coming, we can’t reveal it yet though. That’s for another interview!” he added.
“I hope to visit Llanelli often, I don’t always have the chance. I’ll try to visit at least six times a year, pre-season I’d like to think. I can see the store as it changes and develops and to make sure they’re tip-top. They’ll be tip-top everyday though.
“Soon, with the other deal we’re doing we’ll have an additional 50 stores to go with what we have now, throughout Southern Ireland and Northern Ireland. There’ll be two hundred stores easily by this time next year.
“I’ve been to Llanelli for many years and I’ve surveyed the sites long before today ever happened, I study where people like to visit and what they want to spend. My Father was born in Hereford which was Wales back in the day. He was brought up in Penarth in his infant years, my brother lives on the outskirts of Cardiff currently in Culverhouse Cross. There’s a big connection to Wales for me.”
Chief Executive Officer Nigel Oddy said: “I run the whole business of The Range. I run the 145 stores including today’s new store and have over 7,000 employees throughout the UK and Ireland. I’ve been to the Parc Pemberton area three times within the past four months. I’ve been to Llanelli, Cwmdu and Swansea recently. I went to Carmarthen and Bridgend yesterday. We’re going straight down to Newport after this.
“This new store has benefited from gaining local employees, which is means around eighty additional jobs that have been created locally. The Range is a fantastic store where you can purchase everything from homeware, to DIY to gear for pets and much more. We’re delighted to be in Llanelli and we think that it’ll provide a good service to members of the public.”