Amy’s Hallmark in Alabaster closing after 19 years
Published 10:26 am Thursday, December 20, 2018
By Michael J. Brooks / Special to the Reporter
ALABASTER – Amy’s Hallmark, a fixture in Alabaster for 19 years, is liquidating and closing, and according to employee Kellie Haller, the community is sad.
“People have come in and asked ‘why?’,” she said. “Mr. Modi, our owner, is retiring. At one time he owned seven stores in Alabama, and this is the last one to close. We have a loyal customer base. People would rather come here than to a big store in a big mall.”
Haller said all stock is marked down and the store is even selling shelving and other store fixtures.
Fellow employee Michelle Griffin is also sad to see the store close.
“It’s been a fun job,” she said. “I’ve met interesting people and heard interesting stories.”
Griffin said one customer came to the store following the death of his wife.
“She sent a lot of birthday cards, and he wanted to continue the tradition to honor her,” Griffin said. “He brought a long list, explained to me who they were and how he was acquainted with them and had me pick out cards for every single one of them. I read the messages in the cards and he decided which was the better choice, so we helped him continue his wife’s work.”
A vision-impaired customer also frequents the store and has Griffin read the cards so she can select the best one.
Griffin recalled another customer, a recent emigrant to the U.S., who asked her help in choosing cards.
“He said in his country it was an honor to get a card of high quality,” she said. “We looked through the stock and found the most decorative and the best parchment paper for him to send halfway around the world to honor the people he loves.”
Griffin said each Hallmark store is unique according to its location. For example, the Alabaster store stocks Alabama and Auburn merchandise.
Amy’s has employed two full-time managers and six or seven part-timers, and their workload varied according to the seasons, Griffin said.
“As you might imagine, our busiest times for cards are Mother’s and Father’s Day, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and even Veterans Day.”
Griffin said Amy’s also did a large volume of business in ornaments since Hallmark has made and sold ornaments for 45 years. She explained the ornaments are showcased during four annual promotions.
“Hallmark’s ornament premiers begin in July,” she said. “Then they send us more in October and November and December. We have waiting lists because people want to be sure they get the ornament series they collect or are interested in.”
Griffin herself collects ornaments and is a member of the Tree Trimmers club in Vestavia.
“We collect ornaments and also do service projects to help our communities,” she said.
What will Amy’s customers do now? Griffin said Hallmark stores remain on Valleydale Road, in Vestavia and in Trussville, and many local merchants carry Hallmark products including Wal-Mart, Publix, CVS and Walgreens.
“Everything you see in the store and more is available online at Hallmark.com,” she said.