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Cardiff delicatessen launches badge scheme to reward long-time customers

Steven Salamon and Janina Kuczys

Customers who have been shopping with Wally’s for 50 years or more will be given a loyalty badge that entitles them to a discount on purchases in the Delicatessen and Kaffeehaus.

The owner of the iconic Wally’s Delicatessen in Cardiff has launched a badge scheme for loyal older customers. If you’ve been shopping at Wally’s for 50 years or more, pop into the shop and share your memories – and you will be rewarded with a badge that gets you a discount and a Christmas gift.

Wally’s owner Steven Salamon, who is the son of the shop’s founder Wally Salamon, hopes the scheme will help him reward loyal customers who remember the days when his father, or even his grandfather, ran the business.

Wally’s was founded in 1981, but before that, it was located on Cardiff’s Bridge Street. Initially called Bridge Street Stores, it was founded in 1949 by Steven’s grandfather Ignatz Salamon, a Jewish refugee who escaped Austria on the eve of World War II.

The shop was taken over by brothers Wally and Otto after their father Ignatz died in 1963. They renamed it Continental Delicatessen and the store thrived until it was compulsorily purchased in 1981 as part of the redevelopment of the Bridge Street area. At this point, Wally opened his own delicatessen in The Royal Arcade, calling it Wally’s.

Steven joined his father in the business in 1993 and has run the shop singlehandedly since Wally died in 2008. It has expanded significantly during that time and now occupies three adjacent units in the arcade.

Now Steven is working on a book about the history of Wally’s and the three generations of men who have run the delicatessen business, going right back to its Bridge Street days. He is eager to include memories from long-time customers, so he is hoping that the badge scheme will encourage some of them to call in and share their memories.

“Since starting work on the book, I’ve been feeling very nostalgic,” he says. “I’ve been digging out old photographs and documents and looking back at the Bridge Street days, and I’ve taken the opportunity to speak to customers who are old enough to have shopped in Bridge Street, to ask them if they’ve got any stories about my father or grandfather that we can use in the book.

“There are lots of people who have shopped with us for a very long time, and they’ve been incredibly loyal to us, and I felt it’s time to give something back – so I’ve devised the badge scheme. It’s just a bit of fun – but also, I want to make it a kind of loyalty club. I will give them a discount when they come into the shop wearing it, and a Christmas gift. These could be people who first came to the shop with their parents, or who have been spending their own money here for 50 years. I’m really looking forward to hearing their memories and giving them something in return.”