Still Going Strong After 17 Years!

Supplying a varied range of customers through a proven consignment system which means there is no cost to the retailer, Card Connection has completed its network of nationwide franchise owners and is now seeking individuals to take over existing areas with ready-made client bases

Peter Javens is one of Card Connection's first franchise owners. After 17 years he is still on the road five days per week, delivering and merchandising Card Connection's quality greeting cards ranges to his retail customers all over Nottingham and Grantham, and loving every minute of it!

"I used to be an electrician," explains Peter Javens. "However I knew there must be a better job out there. I read about Card Connection, bought a franchise and within a few weeks I was trained up and my stock had arrived - I was up and running! Over the years there have been a few changes but the basis of my business still remains the same - providing excellent customer service delivering and merchandising quality greeting cards to retailers across my territory.

"I work with a total of around 180 retailers. I visit about 40 stores each week delivering fresh stock and ensuring displays are always attractive and up-to-date, especially with seasonal products. I also regularly deliver Card Connection gift wrap, bottle bags and a small selection of gifts which are great impulse purchase items. I have been working with some stores since I started up, so as you can imagine I have got to know the shop managers pretty well. I have become personal friends with many and have even been invited to weddings during this time!

"As well as my focus on strong customer relations, I believe one of the keys to my success is my level of organisation. I work with a part-time packer who prepares stock ready for delivery, and my sister who assists with in-store merchandising a couple of days per week. Each day I aim to start early to avoid the traffic and visit between two and nine retailers. I am normally home by 4pm which allows me to catch up on paperwork and pack the van ready for the next day's deliveries.

"I definitely made the right choice in joining Card Connection as a franchise owner. Not only do I still love the job almost 20 years later, I am better off financially than when I was an electrician and yet can still enjoy the flexibility and benefits of being self employed."

Card Connection is one of the UK's largest card publishers and is the market leader in the franchised distribution of greeting cards. The company was established in 1992 and within a few years grew to be the largest and most successful organisation supplying greeting cards on a consignment basis and became a full member of the British Franchise Association in 1995. In 2008 Card Connection was purchased by UK Greetings Limited, and is now a trading division of UK Greetings.

Using a proven system, franchise owners place greeting card ranges in retail outlets on 'consignment'. 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 customers never have to buy the stock in the first place, and only pay for what they sell. The award winning merchandising service provided to retailers by local franchise owners is second to none and has established the company's excellent reputation especially within the convenience retail sector.

Card Connection franchise owners have their own exclusive territory with an extensive customer base. All franchise owners have access to a portfolio of unique products which generates immediate income from day one. Typically franchise owners call on retail customers on a monthly basis. Customers include convenience stores, sub post offices, petrol station forecourts and staff restaurants in large offices. In addition, Card Connection supplies numerous national accounts, which include the likes of Netto, Budgens, Londis, Spar and Shell.

Card Connection operates throughout the UK, Ireland and Malta, and also has a Master Franchise in Australia. In total, it currently has 85 franchise owners in the UK and Ireland and supplies around 16,000 retail outlets countrywide. The company has limited vacancies for franchise owners 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 franchise owner. These vary in price according to their level of development, but start at £20,000 (plus stock) with earnings potential in excess of £50,000 per annum.

Owning a Card Connection franchise allows you to buy into an established company and a proven business idea. Franchise owners enjoy the flexibility of being their own boss but with the knowledge and dedication of an established and highly successful organisation behind you.

Reported by Mel Betts