Postcard from North Norfolk
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Jo Francis visits The Great British Seaside and ponders the future for postcards.
Last weekend I ventured out to The Great British Seaside, to partake of some sea air and traditional wet-and-windy day in Sheringham activities, involving the swift trashing of £2-worth of 2ps at the amusement arcade.
Such jaunts also inevitably involve the sending of postcards as for me this is an essential part of any trip. I had a wistful moment in a gift shop in Cromer, while selecting my cards from a prominent display of J Salmon postcard designs – J Salmon being the historic postcard printer and publisher that is set to close down soon due to declining demand.
I had a very interesting chat with the owner of the gift shop, who rightly wondered why the strange woman was taking a picture of her postcard stand. Anyhow, I explained my professional interest and she told me that, while relieved that she’d already placed her order for next year’s stock, she simply couldn’t believe the firm was closing down. She used those exact words.
Elsewhere in her shop was a display of cute little J Salmon recipe books (sample titles: Norfolk Recipes, Favourite Caravan & Motorhome Recipes, and no doubt the firm has similar for Devon, Cornwall and other holiday hotspots), and a range of 2018 Norfolk-themed calendars.
I’m assuming that J Salmon must be marketing its extensive image library assets and customer list for sale somehow (we’ve asked but no answer has been forthcoming as yet). And it struck me that, while this business may no longer be deemed viable as a dedicated postcard and sundries printer/publisher, for a printing company with the right sort of kit and a different type of core business, this could be a shrewd buy.
Whether using quiet production periods to top up stocks, or a print-on-demand model, I reckon this could be a nice little earner.
Based on how many shops in North Norfolk alone use these postcards as a teaser product to tempt customers into their wider range of gift products, it’s easy to see that while this may be a declining market it remains an important one for J Salmon’s customers.
Someone must surely step in to fill that postcard-shaped hole? A printing company with an eye on the future and an appreciation of the value built up by postcard heritage past would, to my mind, be an ideal fit.