Lara Croft heralds new jobs at store

Gun toting cyber babe Lara Croft has been North Wales for the first time since Tomb Raider 2 was filmed here nearly 10 years ago.

The fictional character, made famous by Angelina Jolie, came to the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham.

Two lookalike models Leah Brighouse and Samantha Jackson, accompanied by a bright orange hummer stopped weekend shoppers in their tracks as they celebrated the opening of Grainger Games.

The flagship Wrexham store has been hailed by managers as it’s brought new jobs to the town and it’s the first in Wales.

According to Manager Stephen Bramwell, Grainger Games is excited to start trading in the town.

He said: “We started in Newcastle and we thought it was a good time to come to Wales and Wrexham’s the first one and we’re seeing how well we’ll do here.

“We want to see this as a stepping stone. We have a store in Ellesmere Port and lots of people kept asking why we didn’t have a store in Wrexham.

“Grainger Games is an awesome company. We’re aiming to have 100 stores open by next year. Wrexham is our 70th,” he said.

The store has brought six new jobs to the town and there will be more employment opportunities as Christmas approaches.

“The store has six full time members of staff and we’re looking for a part time member of staff now. We’ll also be taking more people on for Christmas,” said Mr Bramwell.

The 32-year-old is originally from Liverpool and wants to see Grainger Games in Eagles Meadow eventually managed by someone from the Wrexham area.

“I want to hand the store over to someone from the local area….so fingers crossed there’ll be a manager’s position available soon. Ideally we’d like someone from Wrexham who knows the area,” he said.

When the shop opened on Saturday dozens of children were drawn to the orange hummer parked outside the store. The vehicle is synonymous with celebrity drivers such as Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Said Stephen: “We use the hummer with every store open and it’s always a great success.”

Also a hit with shoppers were Lara Croft lookalikes Leah Brighouse and Samantha Jackson from Prestatyn.

The computer generated Lara has been popular in North Wales since Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Fire was filmed in and around Snowdonia in 2002.

Miss Brighouse has been a Lara lookalike model for 4 years and has now set up her own agency.  She managed to look around Eagles Meadow during the day and said she was impressed with what she saw.

“We’ve not been to Wrexham for  a few years and we didn’t recognise Eagles Meadow. We’ve said we’ll come back shopping now that Wrexham’s been spruced up,” she said.

Stephen Bramwell added that their first day trading was very promising.

“It’s been brilliant, awesome and the store’s been busy all day. We try to be cheaper and we want to be the cheapest in Wrexham. This is a really nice shopping centre and foot falls been great and it’ll only get better as more and more stores open.”

Eagles Meadow Manager Kevin Critchley was delighted to welcome Grainger Games to the centre.

He said: “We have a really diverse range of  independent shops and well known High Street favourites at Eagles Meadow and Grainger Games has added to the choice.

“I am naturally extremely pleased that they chose Eagles Meadow as the location for their first ever Welsh store.”

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