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Peter Javens, Card Connection, Nottingham and Grantham

"I used to be an electrician, 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 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 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."