Business professionals and entrepreneurs in New Jersey may learn several valuable lessons from reviewing the history of Norman’s Hallmark. The company is now the largest Hallmark Gold Crown retailer on the eastern seaboard, and is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary. From humble beginnings, the current owner inherited his family’s four Trenton gift shops, named after his late uncle who opened the first of the stores on South Board Street in Trenton in 1939. Despite its success, the recession challenged Norman’s future outlook during 2011, similarly to so many other businesses in the county.
With 38 stores operating, but faced with uncertainty about the future, the owner began making changes for the better. In response to a declining customer base, locations in Trenton were closed. Today, now with 46 stores and 150 more employees, location is repeatedly emphasized as one of the most important factors in Norman’s successful rebound. Town centers and shopping centers in the suburbs became the new preference over urban centers.
The owner also claims that the company’s product lines aremore diversified than most people would be led to believe. Due to industry headwinds from social media, the greeting card market fell out of favor with many younger consumers. In addition, much of that revenue is seasonal. Norman’s Hallmark now sells more gifts, such as scarfs, jewelry, candy and collectibles than greeting cards. The proportion of shoppers at the Hallmark store just buying cards has declined from 98 percent to around 70 percent.
Legal counsel is typically consulted anytime an organization is considering making significant changes to its business operations or portfolio of assets. Lawyers may be able to provide critical questions and answers that other business professionals are not privy to.
Source: NJ.com, “Greetings from Norman’s Hallmark: Family business marks 75 years, readies new Quaker Bridge location“, Joyce J. Persico , October 13, 2014