Tables turn for Harrogate card shop owners
Retirement means cards flood in for Magpie gift shop bosses
They’ve helped bring a smile to thousands of faces on birthdays, at Christmas and a host of other special occasions, and now greetings card and gift shop owners Alison and Paul Lucas are set to receive a flurry of cards themselves – to mark their retirement.
The couple is preparing to wind down after 15 years running Magpie, their busy card, jewellery and gift shop in the heart of Harrogate’s Beulah Street.
And while they’re now moving on, hopes are high that new owners will step in to take over the leasehold and continue what has been a flourishing and successful business.
Alison and Paul opened Magpie in November 2004 after having previously run a jewellers’ and watchmakers shop in Leeds.
The business was originally in Harrogate’s Westminster Arcade, but moved nine years ago to take advantage of the hustle and bustle of Beulah Street.
Today Magpie is found alongside some of the biggest names on the high street – Costa, Specsavers, Marks & Spencer and Next – which has helped boost its business and sales.
The shop’s massive range of contemporary, handmade and personalised cards has proved particularly popular with local shoppers seeking out that special something to say how they feel.
Meanwhile, a large selection of gifts that are exclusive to Harrogate – including chic Joma jewellery, enchanting East of India boxes and Terramundi money boxes – have been a particular hit.
According to Alison, Magpie has weathered the competition from online retailers and web-based greetings card sites because customers still want to be able to touch and see what they’re buying, and browse through the stock.
“Greetings cards are in a really vibrant market,” she says. “It used to be that people just bought a card for a birthday or for Christmas, but now you can buy cards for just about every single life event imagineable.
“People might not be writing as many letters as they used to, and they don’t always want to just send an email. So they look for a lovely handmade or personalised card to help say what they want.”
The shop is being sold with all of its many hundreds of bits and pieces of stock included, from the smallest pair of earrings to pretty Katie Loxton accessories and Hot Tomato jewellery, which means the new owners can step right in to their shoes and start selling straight away.
While it may sound tricky to keep tabs on all that stock, Alison and Paul operate a clever Epos electronic system, so every sale is scanned and recorded, meaning they can easily keep track of what sells best and when stock needs to be replenished.
Magpie is being sold through business specialists Ernest Wilson, who have hundreds of quality retail outlets and other businesses from bed and breakfasts to industrial operations on their books.
To find out more about taking over one of Harrogate’s thriving independent businesses, or to browse what’s on offer, go to www.ernest-wilson.co.uk or call 0113 238 2900.