Gerrads X Event
Members are invited to attend an Event hosted by Careers Springboard Gerrads Cross
Building a Business – “A Toy Story”
Speaker: Gary Grant. Co-founder and CEO, The Entertainer. Location: St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, Gerrards Cross. SL9 7QE. Date: Mon 18th March 7.30 to 10.30pm
Founded in May 1981, The Entertainer began when Gary and Catherine took over the Pram and Toy Bar in Amersham. Catherine was also a full-time Nurse when the first store opened. The previous owner didn’t much like children and Gary and Catherine saw an opportunity to make the shop into somewhere children and adults alike would come and visit, have fun, find something to ‘Entertain’ their time and want to come back again and again.
As the potential and possibility for expansion became real, Gary took on his first employees, one of whom still works for him today heading up the New Store Development Team. A second branch then opened in Beaconsfield, in June 1985. The rest, as they say, is history.
Mr Grant, 60, chairman of the company, left school at 16 with one O-level in maths, which he said, for someone who suffered with Dyslexia, was ‘easy peasy’. The entrepreneur became a Christian in 1991, a decade after opening his first store. He considered becoming a missionary, but instead decided to run his business with Christian principles.
The company set up The Grant Foundation and some of its profits go to the charitable unit. Those donations were helped by a healthy performance by the toy stores group, whose profits surged by 38 per cent year-on-year to £11.9 million on total sales that rose by 7.4 per cent to £164 million, excluding VAT, in the 12 months to the end of January 2019.
Today, The Entertainer is the UK’s largest independent toy retailer, which operates over 160 stores. They also have a Franchise model with stores overseas. Breaking news announced on 12th March was The Entertainer’s acquisition of The Early Learning Centre, which will support its ambitious growth agenda for 2019.