Original Poster Company: Control your future

Recognising the quality and appeal of The Original Poster Company greeting card ranges, ex-convenience store owners Chris and Amanda Larkin invested in a franchise. Rachel Spaul reports

Having awarded all of its 71 UK and Ireland franchises, international greeting card franchisor The Original Poster Company (OPC) is offering select established businesses as re-sales.

Chris and Amanda Larkin invested in an OPC franchise following 11 years running a village post office and convenience store. Chris recalls stocking OPC greeting cards in their store for many years. 'We've always been impressed by the quality and presentation of the cards,' he states. 'When the opportunity arose to buy the existing Ilminster franchise, we jumped at the chance.'

With an understanding of the greeting card market, enthusiasm, drive, and customer-facing experience, Chris and Amanda are ideally suited to the business. OPC Franchise Director Jeremy Webster confirms: 'Franchisees must be committed to the business, self-motivated and outgoing. This franchise revolves around building relationships with customers, so franchisees must also be confident communicators. Sales experience is not necessary, but would certainly be an advantage.'

Previously working nine until five, seven days a week, Chris and Amanda wanted a business where they could control the hours they worked. OPC franchisees distribute greeting cards to the independent retail market on a sale or return basis with free displays, then replace stock and collect the money each month. The business can be run from home with low overheads. 'This franchise gives franchisees the freedom and independence to control their future,' Jeremy confirms. 'It is a proven system that has been successful for franchisees from all walks of life.

'As a leading franchisor of greeting cards, we offer the support and expertise of an established organisation.' The seven-day training course is a blend of in-house, in the field, and sales training to equip franchisees with the knowledge needed to run their own OPC franchise. Chris and Amanda say the training was ideally suited to their needs and 'very professional'. 'OPC has provided a lot of backup - a Business Development Manager is always available to offer support and visits us every six weeks,' adds Chris.

With an extensive and ever-developing range of quality greeting cards, which are unique to OPC, and using the OPC marketing and merchandising system, there is plenty of opportunity for new franchisees to grow their customer bases and increase revenue from each customer. Chris and Amanda have grown their franchise to 135 sites and are looking to increase it further. Chris estimates the business will be turning over £70,000 by the end of year two: 'We're happy to continue growing the business steadily, initially aiming for between 150 and 160 sites.'

As an international franchisor supplying over 28,000 retailers worldwide, OPC has secured a firm foothold in an industry estimated to be worth over £1.4 billion per year in the UK. If you want to be part of this growth market, call OPC for details of your nearest available territory.