After 27 years working in the same place, James Bird was ready to make the step up to running his own business. Investing in a Card Connection franchise gave him the instant advantage of having a ready-made customer base all set up, meaning he could earn an income from day one.
“I started as a cashier in a petrol station and worked my way up through supervisor, then to Store manager,” explains James, “So when I took on the franchise for Gloucester in February 2019 I had a great understanding of how retail works in the convenience sector and was I able to transfer all that knowledge and experience to the benefit of the franchise.”
With the full support of his partner Sandy, James has been able to improve his work/life balance to spend more time with his family. Gone is his previous the stress of dealing with staffing issues, as being his own boss means he can be flexible with how he plans his days. He prefers to start early: “I have my van loaded the night before with everything I need for the next day, and often hit the road before 7am,” smiles James.
Supplying greeting cards and other related product to over 150 stores across his territory, he has a great mix of outlets from nationally branded names like Costcutter, Premier and Londis to smaller independent shops.
The territory includes the cathedral city of Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud and Chippenham, which involves driving thought the picturesque Cotswolds area of outstanding beauty. “Yes, there are worse places to work!” jokes James.
Finding out exactly what each outlet needs and how its customers vary is a crucial part of him delivering a personalised service and in doing so driving up his sales.
“Retail is detail,” quotes James. “Spending time talking to customers is important and after merchandising stores I always check they are happy with their displays before I leave.”
For more information about Card Connection please visit www.cardconnection.co.uk