A NEW shop which allows customers to create bespoke gifts with their own slogans and designs has opened at Crompton Place shopping centre, creating three new jobs.
The venture, called Personalised Gifts, is an expansion for businessman Nick Wood, who has run the Card & Party Centre at the mall in Bolton, for the last eight years.
Nick says the new shop is a pioneering concept in retail, and is actually the brainchild of loyal customers at his existing card shop in the mall.
The idea is to give customers the chance to browse a large range of gifts and memorabilia including mugs, aprons, and babygrows, before choosing their own personal touches and placing an order online.
“The idea for the latest business came from my customers at the Card & Party Centre,” said 57-year-old Nick.
“They’ve been suggesting to me for some time that I ought to open a place where they can see and touch personalised products before going online to order them, so you could say what I’m now doing is by popular demand.
“Buying things over the internet is fine, but when you’re browsing through them you can only see them on a small screen and don’t really get a proper impression of what they’re like.
“My new business will give people a tangible experience in a proper shop environment and when they’re satisfied with a particular product they can then order it online via a new website I’ve had specially set up called Personalised.Gifts.co.uk.”
While’s Nick’s current Card & Party Centre offers greetings cards, wrapping, balloons and presents for all occasions, Personalised Gifts takes things further by stocking an extensive range of goods which can be given a tailor-made message.
Paula Wood, centre manager at Crompton Place shopping centre said: “Nick is a great businessman and when he came to us with this idea we were more than happy to help him expand.
“It’s a great concept, particularly because it came from existing customers, and I think this is the right time to try it out in the run up to Christmas.”
Nick, who has over 30 years’ experience in the greetings card business, added: “The stock will run to about 1,500 items and includes mugs, aprons, babygrows, mousemats, picture frames, decanters, wallets and pens.
“We also have gifts for special occasions such as weddings and bar mitvahs to which we can add people’s names and special greetings or good luck messages.
“As we’re opening in the run-up to Christmas we’ll be stocking a comprehensive range of seasonal items such as cards and tree decorations all of which can be personalised to a customer’s individual requirements.
“Once the orders are placed online with the expert help of our staff in the shop if that’s required, they’ll be delivered to a person’s home.
“With the personalised mugs, we have a special machine in the shop which can add an inscription within minutes while the customer waits.”
Nick explained that he’s spent months visiting suppliers across the UK to build up his range of stock to ensure he has just the right kind of goods on offer.
He said: “We’ve gone to a lot of trouble to make sure we get everything just right and aim to offer exactly what our customers want.
“I’m also quite proud to have created three new jobs, which add to the eight we already have at the Card & Party Centre.
“The latest staff are all local ladies with retail experience and are as excited about the new shop as I am.
“I decided to open Personalised Gifts right next door to my existing shop because it will enable me to keep a personal eye on it and I’ve chosen Crompton Place again because it has provided me with a good customer base over the past eight years.
“I’m really looking forward to the new venture.”
For more information about Crompton Place go to www.crompton-place.co.uk or visit the centre’s Facebook page or Twitter account @CromptonPlace.