Love on a Hanger finds home downtown

Love on a Hanger finds home downtown

Owner making strides, keeps a positive attitude about the future
Susie's Hallmark remains a friendly face in community

For more than 70 years Hallmark has built a reputation of being a warm and welcoming store to purchase personal cards and gifts. Susan and Joe Keck, owner's of Susie's Hallmark in downtown Cortez, have successfully operated and maintained their store for nearly 20 years.

Even during the last decade, as Hallmark Gold Crown stores have closed all over the country, the Keck's have made Susie's Hallmark a community gem.

'Larger cities with Hallmark stores don't have that local connection,' Susan said. 'I've been going to Hallmark stores since I was 13. I would go with a friend and we would eat lollipops, read cards and laugh. I hope that's the kind of legacy we have here.'

An average of five Hallmark stores close every year. Hallmark, which had 5,000 stores nationwide in 2000, are now down to less than 2,000. In October 2012 in Kansas City, Mo., where the company's history began, Hallmark closed their manufacturing plant that produced more than a third of its greeting cards, leaving at least 300 people jobless.

The growing popularity of eCards, online personalization and printing sites, and big box stores offering less expensive greeting cards, has proved detrimental for the Hallmark brand.

'I sell an awful lot of cards,' she said. 'Electronic cards are nice as a remembrance but I think Hallmark is for people looking for that keepsake card. One you can hold in your hand and keep in your drawer.'

The Keck's see electronic cards as a phase. Susan thinks the traditional gift of card giving will swing back around eventually as people search for a more personal connection. Their customer demographics are that of an older crowd so Susan is interested in seeing how Internet greetings will play out long-term.

But she is not worried about her store closing. Customers always come in as the holidays change looking for that special gift. The only time it seems she has a long dry spell is in the summer.

'We have such great local support because we are a gold crown store, so there's a loyalty program that rewards our customers,' Susan explained. 'We fill a niche, a need in Cortez, not just for specialty gifts, but we provide a warm, welcoming place where people can feel connected.'

Love on a Hanger finds home downtown