Still Smiling…Card Retailers Lap Up Their Customer Support

Now into the second week since reopening their doors, card retailers in England and Wales are continuing to massively enjoy the warm welcome back they have been receiving from their customers.

PG Buzz checked in with a trio of leading indies, Sarah Laker of Stationery Supplies Marple and Wilmslow; Jo Sorrell of Cardies in Stevenage and Nicky Stephenson, co-owner of The Tutbury Present Company, Tutbury to get more of a flavour of things from their perspectives…

Above: As ever Sarah made good use of the stores’ windows to fanfare the reopening.
Above: As ever Sarah made good use of the stores’ windows to fanfare the reopening.

Sarah Laker, owner of Stationery Supplies Marple and Wilmslow:

“The reopening has been great so far. I was really nervous the weekend before, wondering how things would be. However, there’s been a nice, steady stream of customers who are giddy to be able to get out and browse cards and stationery again alongside an air of excitement with customers telling me about getting their hair done, visiting loved ones again etc.

And we’ve had a great reception to our new Wilmslow shop, customers are amazed to see the new colourful stationery, cards and gifts we have on offer. One lady bought 18 greeting cards and another just stood gazing at our wall of pastel stationery, soaking it all in.

I now feel like I can stop holding my breath as things begin to feel more normal again. Through all this I was determined that I wasn’t going to let the pandemic take away all I’d worked so hard to achieve so my motto was ‘I will survive’ in true Gloria Gaynor style, and I have. Phew. #onwardsand upwards!”

Click below to see the new look for Stationery Supplies’ Wilmslow shop take shape…

What did you do for the build-up to the reopening?

“I didn’t feel it was right to do a massive reopening launch, so was quite low key apart from lots of social media photos and videos, largely to show people what we’ve achieved in our new Wilmslow shop during lockdown.

Now to tie in with National Stationery Week (April 20-25), we have a competition and have also handed out 150 Maped Helix pen samples with a discount voucher to passing school children to help promote our new shop.”

Above: Sarah has been super busy during lockdown, totally revamping the Wilmslow shop as well as titivating the Marple one.
Above: Sarah has been super busy during lockdown, totally revamping the Wilmslow shop as well as titivating the Marple one.

What approach have you taken instore?

“Acquiring a second shop, our Wilmslow branch, during the pandemic some might say was either bonkers or brilliant! Lockdown 3 has seen us completely overhaul the shop we acquired, spending many hours redecorating, reorganising, building display stands, and liaising with suppliers to bring in new stock and give new life to the shop.

Even though our main focus in both stores is stationery, cards are an essential department in both locations.

Despite the challenges of not being able to attend tradeshows, we have worked really hard to invest in newness for both shops, to keep the offering fresh and to support publishers in launching new collections to the market. We have brought to store and online some really exciting designs from smaller publishers alongside favourites from more well-known ones.

In Wilmslow we have completely reworked the 5metre card display of 619 pockets to include a more contemporary and diverse collection of hand-picked suppliers from 14 carefully chosen publishers. that were not already represented in the town. This includes completely changing the whole card offering, and for Earlybird and Pink Pig, we’re the only shop in Cheshire to stock them.”

Above: A display of pastel stationery loveliness in the Wilmslow store.
Above: A display of pastel stationery loveliness in the Wilmslow store.

Jo Sorrell, owner of Cardies in Stevenage:

“It was so great to be able to fully open our doors again and to welcome our customers back into the shop. The Ponks [Jo’s dogs] all new bedding and wore freshly washed collars. It was like going back to school after a long break.

Our first week’s trade was strong with great positive feedback which is very encouraging. Many have been expressing a wish to support local and independent. The best tonic has been seeing so many happy faces and hearing their supportive words. Many customers have been telling us how they have missed us and enjoy being able to browse a wide selection of cards again and also find those little extra impulse buys that they wouldn’t necessarily find while shopping online. Like us, our customers have very much missed the social interaction and feelgood factor of being in a bricks and mortar shop – you just don’t get to see those smiles online!”

Above: Jo Sorrell with some of her Ponks outside the store.
Above: Jo Sorrell with some of her Ponks outside the store.

What did you do in the build-up to the reopening?

“We had the bunting all ready to hang out everywhere, but due to the fact that we were in a week of national mourning we didn’t feel it was appropriate to put it out, but I am sure we will find a use for it in the future.

We have seen many new faces come in which it seems we have gained from our social media activity during lockdown. Like elsewhere, many who are now working from home are rediscovering hidden gems in their local High Street and we have also received many recommendations through social media which again is bringing us new customers.”

Above: Cardies’ customers have responded very positively to the rearranged store.
Above: Cardies’ customers have responded very positively to the rearranged store.

What approach have you taken instore?

“We had prepared the shop by cleaning everything (as well as having anti-bac stations) making as much space as possible by rearranging our displays to make it easier for people to view everything. We created seating and standing viewing stations inside and outside, dependant on how people preferred to look at our card selections.”

Nicky Stephenson, co-owner of The Tutbury Present Company, Tutbury:

“Trade has been brisk since opening last Monday! We were so happy to see familiar faces returning and spending to support us. It was always slightly in the back of our minds that after such an extended period of closure that online habits could become the norm. But browsing and touchy feely retail it seems, still more than has its place in our industry!”

Above: The Tutbury Present Company has been totally renovated inside.
Above: The Tutbury Present Company has been totally renovated inside.

What approach have you taken instore?

“Renovation! We replaced the floor and then had a complete move round. Customers have been commenting on how great it looks with lots saying it feels bigger and more spacious which is a bonus since we actually added in a table and three new bookcases!

We had gone all out with ordering so the shop was full with products and ready to welcome everyone back.”

 

Above and below: The Tutbury Present Company was brimming with new cards and gifts on reopening.
Above and below: The Tutbury Present Company was brimming with new cards and gifts on reopening.

2I. Tutbury image2

Top: A welcome back, Cardies’ style!

MORE NEWS
FF Today Feature image
 
UK Greetings gets in spirit with social media, mince pies, and helping local causes...
DSD GCA Feature image
 
GCA Speed Dating 2023 event announced for 2 March – with early bird booking discount...
Paper Tiger TV Feature image
 
Edinburgh store gets up close and personal with This Morning’s Holly and Phil...
Danilo sun Feature image
 
Publisher set for solar efficiency thanks to renewable energy scheme...
Paul tribs Feature image
 
Industry pals remember greetings business entrepreneur...
GOTY date Feature image
 
Closing date for Gift Of The Year comp now 15 December – with live judging at Spring Fair...
Get the latest news sent to your inbox
Subscribe to our daily newsletter

The list doesn't exist! Make sure you have imported the list on the 'Manage List Forms' page.