July 28, 2009 // Franchising.com // Leading greeting card publisher and franchisor, Card Connection, has today announced that Andy Thompson and his wife Vicki, franchisees for the Sunderland, Berwick and Durham region, have increased their sales by 20% in the past year.
"Since joining Card Connection in 2004, Andy and Vicki developed their area and within three years had doubled the size of their franchise to become one of Card Connection's first Platinum franchisees. This means they run one of our largest franchises," explains Andrew Cutler, sales and franchise director of Card Connection. "However, they have continued to grow their business significantly and now work with more than 300 retailers supplying Card Connection greeting cards. Despite challenging economic times, they have seen sales grow by 20% compared with last year and have recently recorded their best ever month."
Ex Royal Navy Petty Officer, Andy Thompson puts this success down to: "a sustained team effort to bring on new retail customers. By making a name for ourselves, through word of mouth and networking, we have been introduced to local shop managers, owners and even some store area managers which has helped extend our customer base. In addition, we aim to follow-up and convert leads provided by Card Connection's head office within 24 hours."
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 Netto, Budgens, Londis, Spar and Shell.
Card Connection has limited vacancies for franchisees who are keen to run an expanding business. Successful candidates would ideally have some management experience as, once established, they would be expected to employ a small team, operate a warehouse and have several liveried vans on the road.
Because the franchise networks in the UK and Ireland are 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.
"People always need greeting cards, it is almost a 'recession proof industry' and I believe there is a long-term market opportunity for the continued sale of such quality products," explains Thompson. "We are excited by the prospects for the future and we already have plans to get a third van on the road and increase the size of our team of staff in the next few months."