The long established greeting card cash and carry wholesale business of Abbey Cards, licensed sports merchandise distribution company Spot On Gifts and Party Wholesale, an online B2B portal for party products has been sold to entrepreneur Sunil Rakholiya. This is a culmination of a carefully considered exit strategy put in place due to the directors, including founder and managing director, Harry Rai, wanting to retire.
Everything Abbey Cards’ founder Harry Rai does in business he does well – and that includes how and to whom the group that he and his family have built up over the last 35 years has been sold, ensuring the legacy will continue and the staff’s jobs will be safe.
He started Abbey Cards straight after leaving university in 1984 and together with his family team made its mark, through its professional marketing, well executed promotions and strong product selection.
“This has been an incredible family journey and we are pleased to announce that due to retirement age of the directors this was the best time to sell the business which we had built on strong corporate values cemented over the years,” Harry explained. “No doubt there has been a massive shake up in the industry and there have been many challenges but we have managed to turn some of these challenges into success stories. Abbey Cards becoming the Best Greeting Card Wholesaler in the UK in 2009 [in The Retas] is one of our great achievements,” he added.
The business has not only survived through economic turbulence, but Harry’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit has seen the greeting card wholesale business of Abbey Cards be joined by two start-ups, Spot On Gifts (launched in 2007) and Party Wholesalers (in 2016).
Spot On Gifts is now a major global distributor of officially licensed football and character merchandise supplying retailers all over the world.
Meanwhile the Party Wholesalers website, as Harry elucidates was launched “not only to strengthen market share but also to embrace the changing dynamics of distribution with major investment in B2B online distribution.”
Harry’s son Shanil has played a key role in the exit strategy over the last 12 months. “The key driver for us was that any potential buyer we had a dialogue with must be able to meet our core values of trust and goodwill that we had successfully built,” said Harry. Having had discussions with a number of interested parties on this basis, it was felt that entrepreneur Sunil Rakholiya was the ideal fit to take the business on and offer employment to the entire team to maintain continuity of the business.
Sunil, who has a track record as a successful entrepreneur has already drawn a business plan to expand on the product range and technology to take this business to new heights.
Commenting, Sunil said: “We are delighted that Abbey Card’s management has considered us as their torch bearer. We are receiving business with strong foundation on which we are looking forward to add value with our experience in technology and marketing.”
The company will continue to trade under the brand names of Abbey Cards, Spot On Gifts and Party Wholesalers, but is relocating to a new location nearby on 15 April (Unit 5-6 Abercorn Commercial Centre, Manor Farm Road, Wembley, HA0 1AN).
Harry, who is to continue to offer support to the new owner for the next 12 months told PG Buzz: “Needless to say, I have enjoyed every moment of my 35 years in this industry, with tremendous support from suppliers and customers who have been a part of my journey and become good friends with which I will truly miss. “
Top: Harry Rai (left) signing the deal with Sunil Rakholiya to take over the business.