This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Not All Greeting Card Stores Need 'Sympathies'

She acknowledges that running an independent card and gift shop in today's times is challenging, but she has plenty of ideas on how to make it work. Her ideas include putting in a second line of full-price cards, making more room on the floor for giftware and perhaps even opening a satellite post office or doing custom invitations.

"The rent is really high. We have to sell an awful lot of stuff to pay the rent. On the flipside, we feel like we're being entrepreneurial and constantly bringing in new stuff," she says. "We're always trying to think of what can we do to get more people in."

Here are three lessons newcomer Norman has already learned:

1. Diversify and tailor merchandise to customer demand.
The business partners recognized immediately that CardSmart's merchandise needed to expand. They have added moderately priced giftware such as picture frames, hostess gifts, scarves and jewelry.

"You have to maximize every inch of space with other merchandise when you're selling cards at 50% off," she says.

2. Know your market.
"That's the difference between a Party City and us," says Norman, a former cardiovascular ultrasound technician.

For instance, CardSmart's hometown has many children who attend sleepaway camp. It's common to have "Welcome Home" balloons for them at the end.

Norman and Rothberg, living in the area and having kids of their own, knew that and were prepared. "We did not run out. Party City did," she says.

3. Get to know your customers.
"We've been here six months, we probably know 50 to 100 customers on a first-name basis. It's cliche, but everybody knows your name here," she says.

To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski

RELATED STORIES:

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
4 of 4

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
WAG $81.65 2.05%
AM $27.21 0.00%
CVS $103.95 0.00%
TGT $79.29 0.00%
WMT $75.86 0.00%

Markets

DOW 18,232.02 -53.72 -0.29%
S&P 500 2,126.06 -4.76 -0.22%
NASDAQ 5,089.3620 -1.4320 -0.03%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs