“The plan for 2019 was to stabilise the Gold Crown programme, 2020 is a year of measured growth, and we have got off to a great start,” said Graeme Francis, Gold Crown business manager.
A new Hallmark Gold Crown store in Maghull, Merseyside makes it a ‘hat trick’ for owners Penny and Simon Bailey, who were also named Hallmark Gold Crown Retailer of the Year for 2019 as well as winner of the Best Newcomer in The Retas 2019.
Meanwhile, Hallmark Newark (owned by Bob and Jill McGhee) has just benefitted from a £13,000 free refit, as a result of winning the Big Prize Draw at last Autumn’s Gold Crown conference.
Less than a year after opening their second store in Crosby, Merseyside in April 2019, Penny and Simon Bailey have unveiled another Bailey’s Cards & Gifts in Maghull, Merseyside – dressed in the Hallmark Gold Crown livery. Their original Bailey’s Cards & Gifts store is in Ainsdale, Southport.
Penny was delighted with the response to the new store, “considering it was a very blustery, wet Friday. We’ve had some very positive feedback about the new look of the shop and the product offering.”
This is now a ‘third generation’ Gold Crown shop, having been initially owned by Lewis Franks, one of the early Gold Crown retailers and then Mark Rees, owner of Penmark. Bailey’s have kept the team of staff on. “They’ve all worked really hard to get us up and running as quickly as possible,” she says.
“I’m going to have to get my head around running three shops and find a new routine. Considering this time last year we only had one, it’s been quite year! I do have fabulous teams in all the shops though which makes life easier. Maghull is now the largest of the three stores so it has the most pockets for greeting cards. For the first time I feel I have enough space for general/open birthday cards to complement all the captions we offer. The extra space has meant we’ve been able to accommodate another Thornton’s franchise and broaden our gift offering without feeling too cluttered. It’s a lovely sunny, bright shop and I do have a really good feeling about it.”
Meanwhile in Newark, Nottinghamshire, Bob and Jill McGhee’s Gold Crown store has had a refurbishment after they won the ‘Big Prize Draw’ at the 2019 Gold Crown Owner Event in 2019 – the prize being a Hallmark-funded store refurbishment in 2020.
“Our Gold Crown meeting is always a great opportunity to recognise a number of our members across the annually awarded categories,” said Gold Crown’s Graeme Francis. “In addition to the awards, last year we decided to add a surprise ‘Big Prize Draw’ of a fully funded silver level card area refurbishment for one lucky owner who had joined us at the event in Leeds.”
Bob and Jill McGhee have been Gold Crown members for over 10 years, initially at their large Post Office in Swanage Dorset and now in Newark. The free refit is worth almost £13,000. It gave Bob the chance to realign the shop, giving more space over to greeting cards.
“The town is expanding and with all the new houses being built we want to consolidate our position as the premium card retailer of choice,” said Bob.
The shop already has some very loyal customers. “We often have people coming in to buy 12-15 cards at a time. We have one customer who comes from Derbyshire twice a year and buys a huge number of cards to cover events for the coming six months,” says Bob.
Main card suppliers are Hallmark, UKG, Second Nature, Woodmansterne and Bug Art. To keep things fresh it rotates the humour publishers, with Pigment and Twizler among the top performers.
The new layout has seen the creation of a recessed area dedicated to 3D cards, including Hallmark’s Paper Wonder/Paper Wow ranges as well as Second Nature’s Pop-Ups and the new selection from Cardology.
“We are absolutely delighted with the refit – as are our customers, as we have seen an uplift in sales,” commented Bob McGee. “With the new refit coming on the back of us winning the Post Office of the Year award last June, beating 11,600 post offices. We are having quite a year!”
Top: Bailey’s Cards & Gifts Maghull in Hallmark Gold Crown livery.