Tourists come far and wide for Paper Moon cards
PUBLISHED: 17:05 07 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:28 08 April 2019
Each week the Herald will be featuring a local business and this week we hear from Jo and Martin Johnstone of Paper Moon Cards and Gifts.
Tell us about yourself.
We moved to the West County in 1988 but for the first couple of years ran a bed and breakfast. We quickly realised it wasn’t the life for us and life was too restrictive. We moved to Sidmouth in 2000 and opened No. Eighty Three for Cards. We started it from scratch but sold it after six years when we realised we couldn’t grow it anymore. I really missed having our own business and I just happened to be Googling around when I saw Paper Moon was on the market so I twisted Martin’s arm. That was around seven years ago. I love the friendly people, beautiful scenery and the fact I can’t walk down the High Street without seeing people I know.
Tell us about your business.
When we took the shop over it was slightly neglected and needed some TLC. We have always ran our business by cherry picking the cards we want to sell. We also sell Sidmouth memorabilia and things like mugs and tea towels. We were also runners up in The Retas Greeting Card Retail Awards for best independent greeting card shop in the South West.
What makes you special?
I think the fact we know what we sell intimately, we bend over backwards to find what people want and if we haven’t got it we try and get it from our suppliers. One of things we love is there are regular tourists that visit Sidmouth once or twice a year and bring great big lists with them of who they want to buy cards for. People love to see Brody the dog too, they pop in just to see him and sometimes bring biscuits, he is really good at selling cards as well. Martin has a cheeky side and customers seem to enjoy the banter.
Tell us something that might surprise us?
The amount of time that we physical spend pricing cards individually. Some shops use charts but we like people to know exactly what they cost when they pick up the card. We accepted a delivery for around 2,000 cards and spent two of our days off and hours and hours pricing it them.
What’s one the oddest story you have?
A man came into the shop once and asked if we sold stock cubes. I said ‘no, why on earth would you think that?’ and he said ‘well my wife told me to get some from the shop opposite Boots’. She had meant Trumps; he went in there but they didn’t have any thought he’d ask me as well.