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On 1st March 2021, Card Connection Ireland transferred its undertakings as a division of UK Greetings Ltd (based in the UK), to Carlton Greetings Limited a company registered in the Republic of Ireland.

The new trading name is Card Connection Ireland a division of Carlton Greetings Limited.

Card Connection Ireland is one of Irelands most successful card publishers and is the market leader in the franchised distribution of greeting cards.
Covering all 26 counties into the convenience/forecourt market our success is built upon our customer service expertise, local knowledge and our product range.

In addition to all the features detailed on our website, Card Connection Ireland:

Are full members of the Irish Franchise Association we have some of the most successful franchisees in Ireland. We consistently fill the Finalist spots in the Franchisee of the Year Awards in the Service Category.
We supply ‘Blue Chip’ National Accounts such as BWG Spar, Barry’s Of Mallow, Gala Retail Services, Circle K and Musgraves Daybreak.
We supply bespoke ranges (Seasons) for Ireland including Communion, Confirmation, Easter, St Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas as well as our Everyday core ranges.
The largest Irish greeting card supplier to operate the Consignment Model where you only pay for the stock you sold and not have cash tied up in stock.    

Contact details:

Cormac Flanagan

Sales Manager Ireland

Mobile:     086 857 8700

Phone:      041 980 3140

cormac.flanagan@cardconnection.co.uk

Simon Linscheid – North Leinster

SL.jpgI bought the Card Connection North Leinster franchise in January 2011. It was a very troublesome beginning as the previous owner had not left the business in anything like a favorable position, resulting in a large proportion of the outlets jumping ship. This coincided with one of the worst recessions for 50 years. I had to work tirelessly to rebuild the reputation of the business, attending many trade shows and supporting Card Connection’s Irish Business Development Manager to better strengthen and develop relationships with key national accounts.

SL-Vans.jpgRising costs meant one of my first priorities was restructure the logistics of the operations as some of the old methodology set by the previous franchisee no longer made sense anymore. This involved a major shift in the way displays were merchandised in store and the way stock for displays was previously pre-picked for each outlet. These changes were appreciated by store managers, as we were spending less time merchandising in their stores.

To be adapted to the new system, our vans became mini picking rooms, allowing for more flexibility to respond to the stock situation we found when arriving at each store. Merchandising routes were re-evaluated, based on sales, rather than just geography. Focusing on larger shops and culling smaller unprofitable ones proved to be a much better use of time and our stock. We go out of our way to make sure Customers with multiple outlets for example John O’Neill with 3 shops, Thomas Ennis with 10 and the Fresh Group with 7, get whatever they are looking for.

The key to our operation is efficient use of time. Logistics is a labor-intensive operation and distribution costs of vans and fuel are constantly rising, therefore any savings in time translate into huge savings in resources.

We made some mistakes along the way, but I like to think that one of our strengths is the ability to learn and improve from these. One of these was not to think that bigger is always better. We initially tried to build a large team, when ultimately a smaller more focused one has proven to be the better option.

Keeping overheads lean, operating efficiently and having a good team has been the key, as it recognizing a strong business is built on customer relationships as much a good product. We are there for customers on their time not ours. We guarantee 24-hour callout with product at any time of year so no one can match us on service, that’s our forte. Other companies may have a small edge over us in one or two aspects of their offering, but we make sure no one provides a better service than us and we regularly get told this by our customers! We don’t rest on our laurels and we have great staff willing to work outside normal hours take care of them with extra time off to compensate.

As retail becomes more consolidated, our focus on service makes financial sense because as more and more larger groups are forming, and that means you can lose an account you could lose €50,000 in turnover overnight.

The pandemic has been very tough. We couldn’t service shops in the first lockdown and had to watch as there were a significant number of store closures which has affected our turnover significantly. On the positive side, increased sales in our neighborhood shops has offset some of these losses. We have reorganized our staff and routes once again, as we constantly adapt and change to suit the economic climate.

Recently I have had another big change, this one being personal. At 53 years old I have the major challenge of the arrival of a new baby. Fortunately, I am blessed with a fantastic staff who rallied around and took most of the pressure off at work.

With such a great team we will continue to work hard and look at new issues and new measures to be ahead of the curve!

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