06:00 7 August 2022
A Felixstowe card shop celebrates 75 years in business and has won the award for best card shop in the area.
John Barratt co-owns The Card Center Shop on Hamilton Road with his brother and looks after the day-to-day running of the business.
He has worked there for 46 years and is the third generation of his family to own and work in the building on Hamilton Road.
“My parents bought it in 1947 from my grandmother,” he explained. “Before, it was a café during the war.”
John’s maternal grandparents, Edith and Harry Bailey, had arrived in Felixstowe in the early 1930s and established ‘The White House Café’ at the current location of the card shop.
His parents, Mercia and Stan, turned the business into a candy and tobacco store when they bought it, and by 1964 it had become a card store.
John started working there in 1976 after completing a university course.
“The shop means a lot to me, that’s why I didn’t retire!” he said.
Over the years, he noticed that customers’ tastes became “more demanding”.
He said, “A lot of customers come because they’re looking for something specific. They know that coming here they might find a card with a greyhound on it, or a chicken, a llama, or a Porsche.
“Our staff is very good. They will go to great lengths to help people find what they are looking for.
“We have several people who travel very far and buy six months worth of cards at a time.
“The other day we had someone from south London and then several people from Cambridge and a lady from Guilford came in regularly.”
John was also delighted that The Card Center had been named East Anglia’s Best Independent Greeting Card Retailer at this year’s Retas Awards.
He had already won the award ten years ago in 2012, but said winning this year was a bit more special.
“This time it meant more to me, because I had been through Covid. Running the store during the pandemic has not been easy, but we have made it through,” he said.