Kansas City-based gift company Hallmark is celebrating 100 years of operations, and it's looking to the future with new initiatives. Not only will the company be opening new stores, it is launching a new strategy with a goal to expand its operations.
Hallmark was founded in Kansas City in 1910 by Joyce Hall and in the 1930's, formed a partnership with Canadian retailer William E. Coutts (founded in 1916). Hallmark bought out the entire Canadian division in 1958. Family-held Hallmark now has about $3.7 billion in annual revenue and owns eight related businesses, including Crayola LLC.
Hallmark currently operates stores Canada-wide, including about 130 corporately-owned and franchised 'Gold Crown' stores, as well as distribution through grocery stores and retailers such as Walmart. According to Hallmark Canada President Cindy Mahoney, the company continues to seek out real estate for freestanding stores, as well as various potential shop-in-store opportunities. The company will seek to be close to its consumers Canada-wide, said Ms. Mahoney.
The company continues to expand into new lines, including a new French language line, 'Voeux du Coeur' ('wishes from the heart') in anticipation of a further push into Quebec. The company also recently launched Hallmark Studio Ink – a line of cards developed by millennials for millennials. The company also continues to expand its greeting card lines Hallmark Signature, Lotus and Shoebox, as well as giftable items such as Keepsake Ornaments, and innovative products such as Recordable Storybooks and itty bittys plush characters.
Ms. Mahoney said that Hallmark's Canadian Crown stores will continue to stock a wider variety of products -- including home goods, gift wrap and jewellery, for example. She noted a difference between US and Canadian consumers -- Canadian consumers tend to gravitate towards buying either high-end or value-priced cards, while US purchasers tend to seek out more mid-range products.
Jeri Brodie of Aurora Realty Consultants acts as Hallmark's mandated broker Canada-wide.
Hallmark will endeavour to make itself relevant for the next 100 years, Ms. Mahoney said, connecting consumers emotionally to the world while serving local communities. The company will continue to innovate and add new product lines with the intention to maintain and gain market share, she said.