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Retailer openings and changes

Marking the moves at indie stores, national chains and garden centres

 

There’s been a lot of movement on the greeting card retail front with new shops opened, indie stores changing hands and garden centres bought and sold.

With a large greeting card and gift offer, north Devon institution St John’s Garden Centre’s two sites at Barnstaple and Ashford have been taken over by two employees who have racked up 70 years’ service at the business.

Above: Jason and Mark at St John’s (left) and Dave and William Walker take over Birley Moore
Above: Jason and Mark at St John’s (left) and Dave and William Walker (far right)  take over Birley Moor

Account manager Jason Mellett and landscape contract manager Mark Toon took over from the founding Oliver family, who had run the company for 66 years.

Nick Oliver, whose parents David and Patsy began the nursery as a smallholding in 1958 and developed it into a destination garden centre, said: “We are delighted that Mark and Jason are taking over. They have been long serving members of our staff and understand the business ethos and our commitment to serving customers.”

And in Sheffield, Birley Moor Garden & Aquatics is having a grand re-opening event on Sunday, 21 April, having been bought by Rev Dave Walker and his son William from Chris and Margaret Dale.

They plan to increase the staff from five to 20 and convert an on-site bungalow into a café and community educational centre, as well as improving sustainability with drainage, solar and renewable energy and eco roofs.

Above: Cardfactory in Leicester and Westfield, and Cards Direct in Coventry
Above: Cardfactory in Leicester and Westfield, and Cards Direct in Coventry

Meanwhile Cards Direct has arrived in Coventry, with a new store in the Lower Precinct Shopping Centre, while Cardfactory has opened two new outlets over the past couple of weeks, at Westfield in London and Thurmaston Shoppping Centre in Leicester.

And WHSmith’s Curi.o.city brand has set up at Belfast City Airport, the first of the speciality stores in Northern Ireland and the 23rd location in the UK and internationally since its introduction last year with outlets in Gatwick Airport, Bristol Airport, St Pancras Station and inside Selfridges in Birmingham and Manchester as well as two standalone shops in the UAE and 15 concessions within Borders stores across the Middle East.

Above: Belfast City Airport is Curi.o.city’s 23th outlet in under a year
Above: Belfast City Airport is Curi.o.city’s 23th outlet in under a year

Andrew Harrison, md WHSmith Travel, said: “Since launching Curi.o.city last year we’ve had great feedback from customers, and we’re delighted to start offering our ranges of high-quality stationery and localised gifting and souvenirs to the travelling customers of Belfast City Airport for the first time.

“The growth of Curi.o.city shows how WHSmith can adapt and innovate to create strong new, bespoke brands and retail formats and we’ve been pleased with progress to date and excited about what’s next.”

After four years and a Best Newcomer 2022 Retas Award, independent retailer Hayley Bastable is stepping away from HBB Cards in Newport Pagnell having opened in between the two Covid lockdowns: “It’s time to say goodbye and thank to all my incredibly loyal HBB customers and friends who have loved and supported my shop.

Above: Hayley Bastable has handed over the reins at HBB Cards
Above: Hayley Bastable has handed over the reins at HBB Cards

“Saturday is my last day, as I have sold the business to amazing new owners who will continue with the shop and I will take a rest and have some me time. I’m feeling very emotional, I hate goodbyes, I will miss you. Thank you to my wonderful gals Ali, Amanda and Sharon who have never let me down.”

Katie Wagstaff’s recent opening of her Oh Squirrel store in Walthamstow to complement her publishing business is going down well: “It’s far better than I could have ever hoped, it’s been so busy! I’ve had visits from customers who have been shopping with Oh Squirrel since I first started it as a hobby 12 years ago, and the neighbours have been so welcoming and delighted for something new on the street.

Above: Katie Wagstaff at her Oh Squirrel retail store (images: Poppy Loves London)
Above: Katie Wagstaff at her Oh Squirrel retail store (images: Poppy Loves London)

“I’m feeling so positive about this shop being a great thing for both myself and the brand, and it’ll mean I get to go back to my roots of squirrelling away beautiful props and making one-offs too.

“The concept from the very beginning was I want this to be a walk-in Oh Squirrel moodboard and I think I’ve pulled it off. Anyone who has seen the Oh Squirrel trade show stands will know I take planning and designing a space very seriously, but equally have a lot of fun with creating something stand out and on brand.”

Above: Cake and bubbles marked Helen’s Wishes’ first anniversary
Above: Cake and bubbles marked Helen’s Wishes’ first anniversary

And over in Dursley, local lass Helen Williams has just celebrated her first year at Helen’s Wishes, having taken over and revamped the former Just To Say card store on the site from previous owner Sue Pinnell.

Helen left a career in hr to become a greetings retailer and had a great day of celebrations on Wednesday, 17 April with cake and bubbles going down very well indeed: “What a lovely day. A huge thank you to everyone who came to visit us today, customers, staff and fellow traders, your support means so much to me.”

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