Card Connection’s North East Franchisees Acquire Additional Territory

Leading greeting card publisher and franchisor, Card Connection has announced that Andy Thompson and his wife Vicki, franchisees for the Sunderland, Berwick and Durham region, have purchased a neighbouring Card Connection territory covering the Darlington, Middlesbrough and Stockton area. The husband and wife team will now supply around 450 retailers with Card Connection’s range of quality greeting cards.

"To manage the additional business we are recruiting a new full-time merchandiser," confirms Andy Thompson who currently runs the franchise in partnership with Vicki with the help of three staff. “The geographical reach of our area is now substantial – about 120 miles from top to bottom and so there will be further potential to develop the business in the future. This deal really will bring a new dimension to our franchise for the New Year!”

Ex Royal Navy Petty Officer, Andy Thompson puts their success down to: “A sustained team effort and a focus on customer relationships. Our retail customers are our absolute business priority. We aim to be as responsive as possible. All our store managers know they can ring anytime and in relation to urgent enquiries we will be able to visit them within 24 hours. We are also proactive and aim to build strong relationships with our customers. For example, we organised a ‘golf day’ for retailers at the Tyneside Golf Club which was a big hit!

“Since joining Card Connection in 2004, Andy and Vicki have been very successful and within just three years had doubled the size of their franchise to become one of Card Connection’s first Platinum franchisees. In 2010 they won Card Connection’s Franchisee of the Year award as well as being shortlisted for the prestigious bfa Franchisee of the Year Award,” explains Michael Johnson, Managing Director of Card Connection. "Sadly, our franchisee for the Darlington, Middlesbrough and Stockton area has recently needed to retire due to ill health and so when the area became available, due to their experience, we encouraged Andy and Vicki to take over. They will now run one of our largest franchises and we wish them every success for the future.”

Card Connection’s franchisees use a proven system to place quality greeting cards and gifts in retail outlets on a ‘consignment’ basis. This means the stock and display equipment are installed on free loan to the retailer. This is one step beyond ‘sale or return’ as Card Connection customers never have to buy the stock initially, only paying for what they sell. Card Connection’s award winning merchandising service provided to retailers by local franchisees has proved popular with retailers all over the UK and Ireland including Card Connection’s key national accounts such as Budgens, Londis, Spar, Costcutter, Nisa and Shell.

Card Connection is part of UK Greetings, which is a subsidiary of the largest publicly owned greeting card publisher in the world and has limited vacancies for franchisees who are keen to run an expanding business. Suitable candidates would ideally have some management experience as, once established, and depending on the size of the territory, they could be expected to employ a small team, operate a small warehouse and have several liveried vans on the road.

Since the franchise network in the UK is complete, the available opportunities now consist of acquiring an already-established territory from an existing franchisee. These vary in price according to their level of development, but start at £20,000 (+stock) with earnings potential in excess of £50,000 per annum.

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