Going Strong

James Bird
by

James Bird and Sandy Jess have been trading for approx. 3 years. The business is franchise run, van based, through Card Connection and sells Greeting Cards and associated products into convenience groups and local independent stores. The area they cover is Cheltenham & Gloucester. The business was taken over from an existing franchisee who had been trading for approx. 20 years. James & Sandy’s background was working within retail and petrol forecourts.

Currently they are trading at +22%yr on yr. Initial growth has been established through introducing higher price products ranges, increasing the size of displays and fixtures in stores, adding misc. associated products which includes, bags, wrap and party products which weren’t always offered to customers. Finding and adding new business/customers. Increasing pricing to indp stores that were on a historically lower price index.

“Our current vision is to provide better quality products; trend conscious greeting card designs and unbeatable service to our customers when compared to our industry competitors. This will ensure we retain our existing base of customers and give us the opportunity to add new customers through local word of mouth. Our plans include increasing our customer numbers (stores) and sales by 10% every year over the next 3 to 5 years. We are also interested in purchasing an additional territory should a bordering area become available, we will then adopt the same rapid growth process and principals”.

Although they have several competitors both locally and nationally, they have seen their presence diminish over the last three years. This has been in terms of customers they have lost, and they have taken over on a national level and through local independents. They have also seen their displays in stores reduce and the store owners ask us to increase our displays and range, typically by 50%. In terms of growth in comparison to our peers, they have seen consistently high double-digit growth of 20 to 30%, whereas our peers have only seen 10 – 20% growth. In terms of growth compared to the whole network they have remained within the top 5 growth % achievers for the last 12 months.

“With the great support of our franchise head office and the industry recognized brand, there is no doubt that we will continue to grow and dominate within our business sector. This will mostly be formed in the way of adding new customers, supplying a higher ratio of high price point products, and ensuring we listen to our customers and delight them at every opportunity. Based on the number of stores located within our territory that we don’t currently supply, and assuming we add ten to fifteen new customers each year we should be able to continue to grow at a minimum of 10% for the next five years and beyond”.