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Small Business of the Year - Laine's Hallmark Shop
Posted 09 - 24 - 2010

Photo - Laine’s Hallmark Shop leadership from left, Jeanne Blacksher, assistant manager; Tammy Stanaland Welch, manager; Alvin Stanaland, owner; and Kimberly Bradshaw, assistant manager. (photo by Barbara Holl)

Laine’s Hallmark Shop named Small Business of the Year

by Barbara Holl, executive assistant

Chamber annual meeting and banquet set for September 28

The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce has named Laine’s Hallmark Shop as its 2010 Small Business of the Year.

The business will be recognized at the Chamber’s 89th Annual Meeting and Membership Banquet, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m. at the Hotel Fredonia.

The Hallmark store was established in 1981 in University Mall.

Alvin Stanaland purchased the store in 1986.

His daughter Tammy Welch joined him as manager of Laine’s Hallmark Shop in 1998.

Stanaland doubled the square footage of the store and in 2004 moved from University Mall to the store’s present location in University Park Plaza.

Over the past five years, Laine’s Hallmark Shop has exceeded Hallmark Corporate sales projections, reinvested profits, increased sales by 25 percent, and increased number of employees and/or hours worked. The store has three full time employees and approximately nine part time employees. It provides jobs for many SFA students working their way through school. At times Welch hires high school students in the Work Based Learning Program.

Laine’s started as a card, ornament and small gift shop. It has grown to become one of the most unique gift shops in Nacogdoches. Laine’s traffic helps University Park Plaza maintain its place as an active shopping center.

Welch credits the shop’s growth to its product mix and customer service.

Laine’s recently added fashion, including jewelry sections, which continue to expand. “We are ever-changing our product lines to meet our customer needs,” Welch said.

“The size of our town enables us to know our customers and provide what they need,” she said.

Welch heads to market four times a year to pick out the latest trends to stock at Laine’s. Welch says these intense trips help make Laine’s Hallmark Shop unique. “Finding the gift items that our customers want is our biggest and most satisfying challenge.”

Welch’s husband Don admires his wife’s perseverance. “This is not a business that runs itself,” he said. “Tammy and her staff put in many long hours trying to keep the store attractive and stocked with unique quality gifts and apparel. Tammy takes employees with her to market to train them in retail purchasing and marketing. While many believe that purchasing at market is like a huge shopping trip, in reality it is five 12-hour days of trying to buy what the people of Nacogdoches and the surrounding area want.”

Customer service is one of the highest priorities at Laine’s Hallmark Shop. Long time customer Debbie Dollar enjoys the unusual gifts, fun jewelry, great clothing and friendly staff. “When my family visits from Dallas they all want to go to Laine’s. When I shop for my friends in Georgia their only request is it comes from Laine’s. Last year I redeemed over $300 Hallmark Reward points that I used for Christmas shopping.”

Avid card sender Dr. Barry Roberts said, “I have been purchasing cards at Laine’s for years. They are always helpful and pleasant. It is a pleasure to do business with them.”

When a customer goes into Laine’s to make a purchase everything appears calm, but behind the scenes the storeowners and employees are hard at work. Laine’s Hallmark Shop believes that it takes this dedication and effort to provide a store where people can “Shop Nac First.”

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