‘Putting the shopper at the heart of everything’ is the focus of the new revamped Gold Crown programme the details of which were revealed at an action-packed two day event last week attended by over 80 Gold Crown retailers and prospective participants.
Adding to the significance of the event, Don Hall, ceo of the whole Hallmark group (and grandson of the founder) flew over from the States to welcome the delegates as well as express his gratitude to Steve Wright, who, having been with the company for 22 years, latterly as managing director of Hallmark UK and co-ceo of Hallmark International announced that he is to retire at the end of this year.
Don was keen to express that “as a business our focus is on specialist retail” stressing “how much the UK and Ireland market means to the team out in the States”. He also urged the Gold Crownies to “lean into any challenges that they face in a positive way with Hallmark’s backing”.
Steve Wright, expressed his joy at seeing so many Gold Crown customers back together again, especially after a long time away. Announcing his retirement to the customers, he said: “I feel like the time is right for me to leave the business and I’ll take with me very fond memories of the journey Hallmark has been on.”
Amanda Del Prete, the publisher’s product & creative director, is to step into the role of UK managing director as of 1 January 2019, while Cindy Mahoney will transition into the role of ceo of Hallmark International for all operations. Cindy has been president of Hallmark Canada for over two years and has been co-ceo of Hallmark International since February. Both Amanda and Cindy were there to meet the Gold Crown retailers.
The two day agenda included Hallmark sharing highlights from its consumer insights, a sneak peek at some upcoming products, a tour of its state of the art warehouse as well as full presentation as to the new thrust behind Gold Crown.
“We shared the strong vision we have for Gold Crown, the findings of our new look trials, our commitments for an improved customer service, programme of exclusive products as well as digital support,” summarised Amy Banks, Hallmark’s marketing manager for trade, events and digital.
At a Gala Dinner, held on the first event, Hallmark presented two special awards. The Retailer of the Year Award went to Alison Baker of Island Greetings while Proudfoots of Scarborough was presented with the Newcomer of the Year Award.