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>>>Behind the Scenes at a Small Biz: In April, the Postman Rings Card$mart licenses its name from Designer Greetings, which is also the vendor of the "50% off" line of cards the store sells. Yet the partners are not franchisees -- they do not pay franchise fees or royalties to Designer Greetings. Norman and co-owner Michele Rothberg are required to carry the Designer Greetings 50%-off card line, but can also sell other items and cards of their choice. Designer Greetings has declined to disclose how many independent retailers license the Card$mart name. After struggling in November due to Hurricane Sandy, December was another good month. Preliminary sales rose between 10% and 20% over the prior December, Norman says. "People like what they see and the reputation is changing. We really had a spectacular December," despite having an abundance of card inventory left over, she says. "I prefer that, because it irked me when we didn't have enough" cards for last-minute customers, she adds. This year they ordered a larger amount of card inventory, of which the leftovers they plan to keep for next year, while boxed cards will be on sale at significantly reduced prices. Norman and Rothberg have been able to carve out a niche within the greeting-card industry. They have become known for their unique giftware and other non-card merchandise.
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>>> Behind the Scenes of a Small Business: Lessons From Sandy Attending a trade show is a big deal for the two between travel expenses as well as finding staff to fill in at the store while they are away, Norman says. "You have to spend money on inventory," says Norman, noting that they decided to try a new trade show (and one that's not located in New York) to separate their store merchandise from other local competitors. "We're looking forward to going to that show to get some new merchandise," she says. "Our goal is always to have new products in," Norman says. "We don't sell the same the stuff as the drugstore. We're not the drugstore. We can't compete with the drugstore prices." They also plan to continue to tailor merchandise toward the affluent Jewish families in their area. "Ironically we sold much
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