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“I Really Am Retiring,” Announces Tony Roberts, Sticking To His Plan

The ever-ebullient Tony Roberts, latterly sales director of IC&G, would never be described as ‘shy and retiring’, but the popular industry stalwart has always had a plan to retire while he and his lovely wife Jane are still in fine fettle and full of vigour to explore the world. Tony is to officially retire at the end of March – and has drawn up a very long wishlist of places they will visit, once lockdown eases.

Tony’s greeting card industry career spans some 37 years, over half of which was with UK Greetings companies, but also included roles with Valentine’s of Dundee, Ling Design, Mind’s Eye, Gibson Greetings, ending on a high with IC&G.

Above: Three rays of sunshine – Tony Roberts with Dragonfly Cards and Gifts’ Rachael Barnes (right) and Rita Knibbs at PG Live.
Above: Three rays of sunshine – Tony Roberts with Dragonfly Cards and Gifts’ Rachael Barnes (right) and Rita Knibbs at PG Live.

“I joined this industry 37 years ago, having been recruited by Derek Sim to take up the post with Celebration Arts (which became part of UKG) as area sales manager for Birmingham. Little did I know I would be hooked on the greeting card industry from then on!” Tony Roberts exclaimed to PG Buzz. “As from the start of April though I am looking forward to following the example set by my former boss Derek and fully embracing retirement and all the opportunities it promises.” Trips to Australia, Hawaii and The Maldives are at the top of Tony and Jane’s wishlist. “Right now though, I would settle for a weekend in Bognor Regis!” quipped Tony, making reference to the Covid restrictions.

Above: IC&G’s managing director Simon Wagstaff (left) with Tony on their stand at the last PG Live.
Above: IC&G’s managing director Simon Wagstaff (left) with Tony on their stand at the last PG Live.

Tony’s upward trajectory career wise has seen him hold increasingly senior roles with selected greeting card companies, his final flurry being to leave UK Greetings (where he was sales director of independent sales) to join International Cards & Gifts (IC&G) three and a half years ago as its sales director.

“I have had so many fun times in this industry – the camaraderie with customers, colleagues and peers is second to none, evident at the many sales conferences, Retas awards events, PG Live trade shows and The Henries nights of which I have been privileged to have been a part,” Tony recalls. “I would like to think I have played a part in the progression of all the companies of which I have been a part as well as our respective customers’ journeys over the years and so leave our wonderful industry with lots of good friends and very many fond memories.”

Tony’s ‘last blast’ with IC&G has coincided with the publisher clinching the 2020 Gold trophy in the Best Service to the Independent Retailer award in The Henries as well as launching its full planning service.

Above: Tony (left) with former Gibsons colleague (right) Andy Paterson (now sales director of Woodmansterne) and customer George Twist, managing director of Gee Tees, at the PG Live opening night party.
Above: Tony (left) with former Gibsons colleague (right) Andy Paterson (now sales director of Woodmansterne) and customer George Twist, managing director of Gee Tees, at the PG Live opening night party.

“I have so enjoyed my time with IC&G and like to think that I have been instrumental in its continued progression,” said Tony.

Paying tribute to Tony’s contribution to the company, Simon Wagstaff, managing director of International Cards & Gifts told PG Buzz: “We have loved having Tony as part of our team and wish him all the happiness for his retirement. He has been fantastic for IC&G and an absolute pleasure to work with. He brought along with him a wealth of experience and has helped us grow the business over the past three and a half years to where we are today.”

Above: Tony (far right) enjoying The Henries with friends from Cardzone and (third left) Clinton Lewin (formerly of iCandy and Clintons).
Above: Tony (far right) enjoying The Henries with friends from Cardzone and (third left) Clinton Lewin (formerly of iCandy and Clintons).

Having formerly headed up the sales side of the business, as an interim measure Simon will caretake the role until a suitable replacement is recruited.

“Tony is most definitely a hard act to follow. We are in no rush as the we need to find the right person for this important role,” added Simon.

Top: While he has loved his time in the trade, Tony Roberts is looking forward to his retirement.

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