Clinton cards celebrates 40 years

PUBLISHED: 11:52 16 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:38 20 February 2013

ESSEX entrepreneur Don Lewin OBE is celebrating a landmark birthday this year, but not his own. Instead he is marking 40 years of Clinton Cards, the company he founded in 1968, and looking forward to another busy Christmas season.

DON began selling greetings cards from the back of his car before the idea struck him to open a shop that sold cards. Now Clinton Cards is the largest specialist retailer of greetings cards, soft toys and related products in the UK with more than 700 shops.

The first Clinton Cards store was opened in Epping, with Don aiming to make enough money to one day achieve his ambition of owning a brand new Rolls Royce. Within four years he had bought the car he wanted and even paid £2,000 over the odds in order to get immediate delivery and avoid a waiting list. The business grew to 77 shops by 1988 and was then successfully
floated on the London Stock Market.

By the summer of 1994 the business comprised 277 shops and in October 1998, the entire share capital of GSG Holdings Limited was purchased, adding a further 211 shops. The more recent acquisition of The Birthdays Group increased the total estate by yet another 488 stores. The son of a chimneysweep, Don is now one of the county's richest residents, ranking at number 10 in last month's Essex Life Rich List. Don has also recently released his autobiography, Pick a Card, which is on sale in Clinton Cards outlets with the proceeds being donated to charity.

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