Greeting card retailing stalwart, Tony Saunders, owner of The Card Market trio of shops in the Blackpool area has sadly passed away, with Covid-19 having claimed his life. He was only 57 years old.
Paying tribute to his friend, Ged Cleary, agent and card publisher consultant described Tony (pictured top) as “A wonderful man and friend to all his suppliers; everybody loved him”.
Tony, a longstanding Cardgains’ member, having started out initially selling greeting cards from a stall on Blackpool Market went on to open three specialist card shops in Blackpool, Lytham and St Annes-on-the-sea on the Fylde coast of Lancashire, all of which traded as The Card Market.
“I clearly remember the first time I met Tony back in 1996 when he was just trading on the market stall selling mainly wholesale cards. As an agent for Wishing Well back then I was trying to persuade him to take our Words of Endearment cards, which had an RRP of £1.69. While he said: “I’ll never sell them. I am a 99p man!” I offered to give him some of the cards to try on the proviso he put them out at RRP, which he agreed to do. Three days later he rang back to say they had sold so well he needed to place a proper order. That was the start of a great friendship. It is just so sad that he is no longer with us,” said Ged, whose son Matthew (who is also an agent) was also very close to Tony.
Paul Lavery, co-founder of wholesaler business Budget Greeting Cards was another of Tony’s close industry friends. “I knew him for 30 years. He was one of the very best,” Paul told PG Buzz. “As well as meeting up often in Lytham, he would come to our Manchester branch every Wednesday morning, invariably beating me in, and we would have a coffee together. We spoke the same language. I will really miss him.”
As Ged added: “I am sure the whole industry would join Paul, Matthew and I in sending our heartfelt condolences to Tony’s wife Jo and their children Beth, William and Kate.”