The presentation was made yesterday at the UK Toy Industry Day at Great Fosters Hotel.
The British Toy & Hobby Association has presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Gary Grant, CEO of The Entertainer toy retail chain. Inaugurated in 1996, the BTHA Lifetime Achievement Award is presented in exceptional circumstances. It is awarded to individuals who have made a truly outstanding and significant contribution to the toy industry.
“Gary’s contribution to the toy industry has been hugely significant. His personal drive and energy have combined with a tenacious ambition to lead The Entertainer to become a recognised name across our high streets”, said Kevin Jones, BTHA president. “Gary has been a major supporter of the industry’s Toy Trust charity from the very early days, has placed family values at the forefront of his life and reflected them through the values in the business and has made a tangible difference to the face of the toy industry.”
Gary’s career in the toy industry began in 1981 when he bought his first toy shop in Amersham, Buckinghamshire with his wife Catherine. His early business success was grown from buying and selling skateboard parts during the skateboard boom of the 1970s.
Today his business has now grown to incorporate more than 100 stores in the UK and abroad.
Gary’s philanthropic approach to business results in The Entertainer giving 10% of its profits back to children’s charities; in 2014 alone The Entertainer raised more than £1,000,000 for charities associated with children and families.
As well as his success in the commercial sphere he has also served as chairman of the retail industry body, the Toy Retailers Association. He served for two terms in 2001-2003 and later in 2007-2010, and also as president during 2004-2006. Gary remains an industry spokesperson and also chairs the steering committee for Dream Toys.
Gary is married to Catherine, who is also a director at The Entertainer, and together they have four children – Duncan, Stuart, Anna and Alastair. Duncan and Stuart are also Directors of the business.
Gary commented: “To receive this award is a great honour, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the many staff who have invested their careers in building The Entertainer. Also, the many suppliers who have endlessly supported and encouraged me. I am proud to be part of the industry’s achievements over three decades in bringing joy, fun and excitement to millions of children.”