Indie retailers recognised

Carl Dunne ‘gobsmacked’ as commitment to community wins award


Whoop! Whoop! Indie greeting card retailers are reaping the rewards of their hard work with a trio from Cards & Gifts, Raffia and Gifted being the latest to be feted for their commitment.

Carl Dunne at Cards & Gifts has been honoured by Dronfield Civic Society for helping revive and revitalise the area by taking on three vacant units – and employing more than 25 local people.

“I never knew till we were invited to collect it,” Carl told PG Buzz. “I was so gobsmacked! Actually, I was gobsmacked twice, for this and for being in the running for The Retas 2023 too.

Above & top: Carl Dunne was gobsmacked at his award
Above & top: Carl Dunne was gobsmacked at his award

“We now have The Corner Shop convenience store and Café Civic which we opened last year – the card shop is the best one though. The Corner Shop is hard work due to the early morning paper rounds but we also sell UK Greetings cards which do well, and the café is great as I eat all day!”

With local people enjoying the café as a meeting point over coffee and snacks, his business is going from strength to strength, and the staff roster covers from paper delivery people up to managers.

Carl added: “Without all these people I would have sunk, they all do me proud, and I’m so proud of what the business has become. It was such a nice surprise to get the award for taking on the three empty shops and bringing the Civic Centre to life.”

This year is the fourth year on the trot Carl has been in the running for The Retas, having won the Best Greeting Card Retailer Newcomer Or New Branch North for his original Cards & Gifts outlet in Sheffield city centre in 2019, then being a finalist in the Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer North & Northern Ireland for both stores after opening his second shop in 2021, and again last year for Dronfield, having had to close his first one following the lack of footfall due to Covid and issues with the city council.

Above: Raffia owner Charlotte Eccles is a Star In Tourism
Above: Raffia owner Charlotte Eccles is a Star In Tourism

Meanwhile, over in Clitheroe, Raffia Gift & Lifestyle Consultancy owner Charlotte Eccles had a “wonderful day” at the Ribble Valley Tourism Gathering, where she picked up a Star In Tourism award.

“When the guy from Ribble Valley Borough Council walked into the shop and told me I’d been shortlisted, I thought he was just putting bums on seats for the event!” Charlotte laughed.

“His visit was totally out of the blue – albeit I had smiled and said hello to him outside Nero earlier that day, but I genuinely had no idea that I would return from a day at Bashall Barn with a glass memento, a stiffy cat and a warm, fuzzy feeling that my job actually means something.

“These last few weeks have been unpredictable to say the least. I’ve gone home on some massive highs but also regularly wanting to drink my body weight in wine. I dread to think what I’ve been like to live with!

“Something like this is a lovely way to remind myself that I have a wonderful job and I trade in an area full of equally wonderful people.”

Above: Gifted owner Katrina Downie (centre) with Kenny, and the store’s thank you window
Above: Gifted owner Katrina Downie (centre) with Kenny, and the store’s thank you window

And up in Aberdeen, greetings and gift retailer Gifted has been named the Best Gift Shop in the regional heats of the Scottish Business Awards, so will be going forward to the upcoming national finals in Glasgow against the other 15 regional winners.

Owner Katrina Downie said: “Our shop window is dedicated to each and every one of our lovely customers who have shopped with us from day one back in August 2019, without you all our wee shoppie wouldn’t still be thriving.

“Thank you also to everyone who voted for us in the Scottish Business awards, we were delighted with the outcome Best Gift Shop, and thank you to our team who all work hard and keep the good ship Gifted afloat when I’m not there, we are very lucky to have you

“Finally thank you to my Kenny Milton, he does so much behind the scenes alongside his own busy job. You are very much appreciated and it doesn’t go unnoticed – there’s some lightbulbs need changing by the way when you have a minute!”

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