Franchise brings more business in Cambridge

NEW NAME: Cambridge bookseller Hamish Wright turned his independent store into a Paper Plus franchise.
NEW NAME: Cambridge bookseller Hamish Wright turned his independent store into a Paper Plus franchise.

More feet walking in, more books going out. Wrights Bookshop may have lost its independence, but the numbers say trade is on the rise.

On July 1 the 24-year-old store took down its signs and officially became Paper Plus Cambridge.

"I've got a lovely new shop," said franchisee Hamish Wright.

He decided to turn his independent store into a franchise to take advantage of the group's marketing budget, promotions and product range.

Wright also wanted to avoid the possibility of Paper Plus opening a rival bookstore in Cambridge.

The layout of the store has changed, from the colours and signage to the displays.

"There's very few parts of the shop that haven't been touched in some way."

Wright, an experienced bookseller, said while Paper Plus dictates much of the shop's direction, he will have some autonomy as the franchise owner.

Paper Plus has standard layout plans, but no two bookstores are the same. For example, Paper Plus Cambridge has a large and popular equine section.

"We're still coming to grips with it in terms of stock management."

Wright said the displays are improved, as well as the "flow" of the store. He said customers comment that it seems bigger, "which it's obviously not".

"There's a bigger range, both in terms of the adult area and definitely in the children's."

He said both customer count and average spend had increased since the change.

Wright said some customers visited out of curiosity about the new layout, some were attracted to the well-known branding, and some came chasing a recent Paper Plus Fly Buys promotion.

He doesn't think he's lost any loyal Wrights customers.

"It's sad, but they understand."

Wright is the fourth generation of a bookselling family, with close family ties to the well-known Hedleys Booksellers in Masterton.

The store also has one new part-time employee.

Paper Plus Cambridge is one of the first three franchises to have the company's new layout, with updated signage.

Wright said the store is still a "nook" in Cambridge's main street, and hasn't lost "that bookshop feeling".