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The Waves Of Wows Keep Lapping From Retas 2021 Finalists

There’s nothing like some good news to lift the spirits, especially after what has been the most topsy-turvy period in living memory. The announcement of The Retas 2021 finalists ( has set off a feelgood ‘Mexican wave’ of overflowing enthusiasm and sheer joy that is percolating throughout the whole industry.

Having shared a taster of this positivity on Wednesday’s PG Buzz (

here is a second helping…

Heidi and Dominic Early, co-owners of Earlybird Design, Stoke Newington

Finalist: Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer – London

Finalist: Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative – for its Hope campaign

“We are both soooo over the moon to reach the finals in two categories! We just feel elated! After such a hard 15 months reaching the finals feels like such welcome recognition for everything.

Our customers, our suppliers, agents, family and friends and just everybody who used cards to connect with people during this quite hideous time, we are forever grateful. To be honest I think we’re all winners for surviving. We have to keep positive, innovating, and caring about one another, that’s how we’ll survive and at some point in the future, thrive!”

Above: Heidi and Dom Early can’t hide their joy!
Above: Heidi and Dom Early can’t hide their joy!

Nicky Stephenson and Claire Jarvis, The Tutbury Present Co, Tutbury

Finalist: Best Non-Specialist Independent Retailer of Greeting Cards – North

“Whoop whoop that’s the sound of two very smiley shopkeeper finalists! We were delighted, surprised and overwhelmed to hear the news of reaching the finals. After the rollercoaster of a year we have had we couldn’t wait to share such positive news. We have had a simply amazing reaction on social media from our customers and local community. The comments on our Facebook post especially have given us such a boost!”

Above: Nicky and Claire enjoying a celebratory cocktail.
Above: Nicky and Claire enjoying a celebratory cocktail.

John Pye, owner and Krystyna O’Brien, head marketing manager of The Bookshop, East Grinstead

Finalist: Best Independent Bookstore Retailer of Greeting Cards

“What a brilliant way to start the day by finding out you are a finalist in The Retas 2021! We were absolutely thrilled and felt as proud as punch! Needless to say, we celebrated after 5.30pm by cracking open a bottle or two!

We take great pride in our greeting card selection, and have received many a compliment about them, with our customers saying that our cards are like none other in East Grinstead.

In recent years The Bookshop has been shortlisted for Best Independent Bookshop of the Year on numerous occasions, something we have been rightly proud of. Now to have The Bookshops’ greeting card department recognised and singled out as among the UK`s very best, is simply fabulous – a great feather in our cap and just the inspiration we need after such a challenging year.

Greeting cards have always played a really important part of what The Bookshop has to offer. We are first and foremost a community book shop, and to that end greeting cards really help us to share in the lives of our customers, to celebrate with them their highs, like births, birthdays, marriages, anniversaries, and new homes etc, and perhaps, even more importantly, share in their lows, when they are ill, or when a loved one passes.

Greeting cards really are at the heart of what we do. Community is about care, and greeting cards really do show, that we do.

I am often heard saying that bookselling is all about putting the right book, in the right hands, at the right time. Now I come to think of it, the same can be said of selling cards – it really is about putting the right card, in the right hands, at the right time.”

Above: John Pye and Krystyna O’Brien celebrating in the shop after closing time.
Above: John Pye and Krystyna O’Brien celebrating in the shop after closing time.

Jo Sorrell, owner of Cardies, Stevenage

Finalist: Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer – Home Counties and South East

“We are absolutely bursting with pride to hear that we have been nominated for a Retas award. It’s such exciting news at any time but even more so after such a strange and difficult year for everyone. How lucky are we to receive such wonderful news”

Above: Jo Sorrell with Millie Brooke, part time assistant.
Above: Jo Sorrell with Millie Brooke, part time assistant.

Tiffany Leach, owner of Kingfisher Cards & Gifts, Sidmouth

Finalist: Best Greeting Card Retailer Newcomer or New Branch – South 

“Fantastic! I was surprised and shocked when I heard – it makes all our hard work and setting up our website worthwhile knowing that it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
I love PG Live so will be excited to get shopping there with my £75 Sunshine ticket!”

Above: Tiffany Leach gave the news a big thumbs up!
Above: Tiffany Leach gave the news a big thumbs up!

Mark and Marion Flaherty, co-owners of Best Wishes, Garstang

Finalist: Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer – North and Northern Ireland

“What fantastic news to receive and add to a beautiful sunny day in Lancashire.
We are delighted to be a finalist, it certainly has raised our spirits as well as our staff’s after such a challenging year.
We are all keeping our fingers crossed for the results, while continuing to enjoy welcoming back more of our customers and seeing new faces of visitors and those now working from home.”

Above: Mark and Marion are all smiles.
Above: Mark and Marion are all smiles.

The Retas 2021 already has a strong roster of sponsors, leading companies, who are all committed to rewarding retailing expertise, with more to follow. These currently include The Art FileBelly Button DesignsCarte Blanche GreetingsCath Tate CardsDaniloHallmarkOhh DeerLing DesignPaper SaladPaperlinkPigment ProductionsProgressive Greetings LiveSecond NatureSensationsUK GreetingsWendy Jones-Blackett and Woodmansterne Publications.

Top: There was a lot of tail wagging happiness at Cardies when the news broke!


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