Northern Ireland-based franchise owner Gabriel McGeown has won the Card Connection Franchisee of the Year award. McGeown, who joined Card Connection in 2008 and manages Armagh, South Tyrone and part of the County Down region, was named winner at the company’s annual conference in Stratford-upon-Avon.

“We are delighted to be able to recognise Gabriel McGeown for his outstanding commitment as a Card Connection franchisee,” said Andrew Cutler, Sales and Franchise Director of Card Connection. “Gabriel is consistently the top performer in average sales per retail outlet, growing his businesses volume sales by 14 per cent in the past year. In addition, at the end of 2010 we experienced some of the worst snow and ice in years, yet despite the adverse weather conditions, Gabriel ensured all his key retail customers were properly merchandised and supplied with Christmas stock ready for the busiest buying period of the year.

“However, Gabriel’s dedication did not stop there. We were particularly impressed that during his busy work schedule he was still able to find time to help one of our new franchisees set up his business. He arranged for a builder to copy the measurements of his stock room and storage area so the set up could be replicated by his new fellow franchisee. He even took one of his staff to the new franchisee’s unit to help him get up and running quickly.”

McGeown won the Regional Franchisee of the Year award for Ireland and Scotland as well as the Heidi Sulley trophy for Team Spirit and Tenacity.

Other Card Connection franchise owners that were recognised at the award ceremony included South West, South Wales & Central regional winners, Ron and Shirley Maynard who have continually grown their business since start up in 1996 and achieved eight per cent growth in the past year.

Atul Patel who has developed his business since 2001 was named as the regional winner for the South East, Midlands and Anglia. Patel now employs four merchandisers and ranks in the top 10 in the network on a number of product sales.

Martin Sweeney took the North East and North West regional award for showing outstanding levels of customer service.