The franchise owner of three Northern Ireland Card Connection territories has been awarded the company’s Franchisee of the Year 2011 award.

Gabriel McGeown, who owns the County Antrim, Belfast and North Down territories, joined Card Connection in 2008 and now supplies Card Connection’s extensive range of greeting cards and gifts to more than 200 retail stores in his territories.

McGeown has enjoyed previous award success when he was recognised for his outstanding commitment as a Card Connection franchise owner at the company’s annual conference last year. He has also recently expanded his team and now works alongside one part-time and three full-time staff members.

McGeown said: “I have recently invested in another vehicle too. This means I now have three vans on the road and we will hope to increase the numbers of retailers we supply dramatically in the next 12 months, aiming to add a further 50 key accounts to our customer base.

“The general market conditions are pretty tough for everyone right now, even in Northern Ireland. However, we are still focused on expansion and moving our business forward to take advantage of the exciting opportunities available.”

Andrew Cutler, Sales and Franchise Director at Card Connection, said: “It is this dedicated attitude that helped Gabriel win our Franchisee of the Year award, and will ensure his business continues to be successful and grow. Consistently a top performer, Gabriel always ensures his customers are a priority, even last winter, in some of the worst snow and ice we have experienced, he still made sure all the stock was delivered in-time for Christmas – the retailer’s busiest time of the year.”