Leading greeting card publisher and franchisor, Card Connection has named Irish franchisee Tony Lees as its Franchisee of the Year for 2014. Tony who joined the company in 2011 supplies Card Connection’s quality range of greetings cards and accessories to retailers in 230 retail stores around Ireland’s South West region, within the counties of Limerick, South Tipperary, Waterford, Cork & Kerry. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony at Card Connection’s annual franchisee conference, held in Daventry last week.
“Tony has achieved year-on-year growth in his franchise since start-up,” confirms Michael Johnson, managing director, Card Connection. “Tony has five people in his team and runs his operation from a 1,600sq ft. warehouse and supplies independent retailers in addition to National Accounts such as, Barry’s Group, Aramark, BWG Group, Valerofuels, Gala Retail Services, ADM/Londis, Musgrave Wholesale Partners and Topaz. Tony’s success has been the result of incredible hard work and commitment against the backdrop of some particularly tough economic times in Ireland.
“However, the award was not simply judged on sales figures,” continues Johnson. “Our business development managers used a points system to consider growth, business attitude and aptitude and how franchisees perform as ‘ambassadors’ for Card Connection. This year Tony Lees stood out as the franchisee making the most impact in all these areas.”
Regional awards also went to Mike and Diane Barber in the South West and South East, Martin Rolfe in East Anglia and the Home Counties, Andy and Vicki Thompson, Northern and Brian Spilman in the North West and North East.
Card Connection’s annual conference was well attended by its network of almost 70 franchisees plus its head office staff. Morning presentations and fun, afternoon team building activities including shooting and ‘human table football’ preceded the black tie awards ceremony dinner, held at the Hellidon Lakes Hotel in Northamptonshire.
Card Connection which last year celebrated its 21st year in operation as a franchisor is one of the UK’s largest card publishers and is the market leader in the franchised distribution of greeting cards. The business’ unique model of consignment sales has resulted in a strong brand and established reputation which has been proven over many years. Through its franchisees Card Connection supplies about 12,000 retailers throughout the UK.
Card Connection franchisees place quality greetings cards in retail outlets on a ‘consignment’ basis. This means the stock and display equipment is installed on free loan to the retailer. This is one step beyond ‘sale or return’ as Card Connection retail customers never have to buy the stock in the first place, only paying for what they sell. The award winning merchandising service provided to retailers by local franchisees is second to none and has established the company’s excellent reputation especially within the convenience sector.
Card Connection is part of UK Greetings, which is a subsidiary of American Greetings Inc., one of the largest greeting card publishers in the world and has limited vacancies for franchisees that are keen to run an expanding business. 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 £7k + Stock + Card Connection fee with earnings potential in excess of £50k per annum.