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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 May, 2003, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Leisure gear firm expands
Gelert headquarters, Porthmadog
Gelert supplies and designs outdoor leisure gear
More than 70 jobs are being created in Porthmadog with a 4.5m expansion by an outdoor clothing and equipment company.

Local firm Gelert has been given the go-ahead by Gwynedd planners to start work on new premises in the town.

It has been a major employer for nearly three decades and currently employs 115 workers.

Gelert will start building a warehouse and offices on a five-acre site on the Penamser Road Business Park in Porthmadog next month, moving in early next year.

The recruitment drive will start as soon as we move into the new premises in December or January and we will be creating at least 70 jobs - it could be up to 80
Alastair Langdon, Gelert Ltd

From humble beginnings in a shed in Bryncir, and later in the shop Warws in Beddgelert, Gelert Ltd now runs a multi-million pound operation in the UK, Holland and Hong Kong.

As well as its Outdoor World shops in Porthmadog, Beddgelert, Dinas, near Caernarfon and Dublin, Gelert also distributes clothing, footwear and camping equipment to UK and international retailers.

The company aims to increase its annual turnover from 16m to 25m through business growth, leading to the need for more staff.

"We distribute to 1,400 retailers throughout the UK and 700 in the Benelux countries," said managing director Alastair Langdon.

Recruitment drive

"In order to reach our target of increasing our turnover to 25m in two years time, we need to employ more people.

"The recruitment drive will start as soon as we move into the new premises in December or January and we will be creating at least 70 jobs - it could be up to 80."

The news comes as up to 900 workers in south Wales hear they are to lose their jobs after LG Philips Display factory in Newport announced it is closing in August.

There has also been bad news for the Gwynedd workforce this year after Action Makers factory in Bala and the Austin Taylor cable-making factory in Bethesda announced job cuts.

Local economy

A buyer has since been found for the Bala firm, although it is not known how many of the 110 jobs can be salvaged.

Gelert Ltd's new buildings will replace their existing headquarters on the Penamser estate.

It already owns the adjacent ten-acre site, with planning consent for development, and intends eventually to spend another 3m on that site.

A spokesman for Porthmadog Town Council said he warmly welcomed the news.

"We are extremely happy to hear the good news that a local company is developing so successfully and contributing so much to the local economy."

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