A UK retailer says he believes it's more important to honor the real meaning of the holiday.
With Christmas day falling on a Monday this year, many families will be be rushing around on Sunday trying to find those last-minute gifts or cooking ingredients. But Gary Grant, the founder of The Entertainer (the largest independent toy retailer in the UK), will be sitting at home “helping his wife prepare for Christmas Day,” and the 1,700 staff of his 149 stores will be enjoying time with their families, too.
This will come at a huge financial cost, a projected $2.7 million, to the devout Christian, but Grant simply states: “I have the best staff in the high street. If that is the cost of thanking them for a hard season’s work, well that is the cost.” (Cue the stack of resumes heading his way!)
It’s refreshing to see a businessman in the toy industry highlighting the need to remember what Christmas is all about. As Grant explains: “There is a fine line between running a viable business that gets caught up in the commerciality of the season, but on the other hand not losing the real meaning of Christmas.”
His decision to put family first comes from his belief that the family is “under attack enough.” Grant shares: “I value families. I have four children and six grandchildren. I employ a lot of parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties. It is convenient .. that parents can be off at the same time as their children.” And yes, at a time when parents are juggling increasingly tricky schedules, it’s great that a boss recognizes the need for family time, and actually imposes it!
The shopworkers’ union, Usdaw, have also welcomed this decision, saying how the run up to Christmas is exhausting for staff and “they need time off to recuperate as well as to spend time with their family and friends.”
Yet, Grant hasn’t just reserved this Christmas Eve Sunday for family time. The business/family man, who left school with few qualifications, has created a toy empire with an annual profit of $12 million with all the stores being closed every Sunday. The store sign states: “The Entertainer is closed on Sundays so staff can spend time with their friends and family,” and perhaps have time to play with their children and their toys.