Gifting Great Memories
Teresa’s Hallmark celebrates 28 years in Greenwood
Writer / Michelle Kaufman
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Teresa Dillard prides herself on providing a destination shopping area through her store, Teresa’s Hallmark.
Dillard bought her store in 1989 at the corner of 135 and Fairview before moving to the current location across from Meijer in 2000. Dillard’s Hallmark is the only one that she knows of that has two stories.
The collectible business kept her store going when she started, but websites like eBay has forced stores like Teresa’s Hallmark to adjust their strategy.
“Suddenly there’s this glut on the market of supply of collectibles that wasn’t there when you had to go around and search from store to store to find this special piece you were looking for,” Dillard says. “People got used to buying on internet instead of supporting local stores, that’s where a lot of the business has gone to, which makes it hard for a brick and mortar store to stay in business.”
Teresa’s Hallmark now has a website where customers can order from an online catalog and have their products shipped to the store if it is not already in Teresa’s inventory.
“You can pick up that order in the store without having to take the time to come in and search for items,” she says. “So, you can still do your shopping online and get free shipping if you pick it up. If I have the product in the store, then I can take it from my inventory instead of Hallmark sending it, which helps keep me in business.”
Another unique service that Teresa’s Hallmark offers are products from P. Graham Dunn, such as keychains and plaques, that are laser engraved in the store. A new program was bought for Teresa’s in September that will allow for more creative license.
“For the customer that comes in and they want something different than what the current system can offer, we can work with it to create something a little bit more personalized for them,” Dillard says.
Dillard is currently working on coming up with more ideas for events and promotions. Teresa’s Hallmark’s Facebook page is full of Facebook Live videos and posts detailing promotions and new products. Dillard enjoys being able to implement her ideas in her store and work a variety of roles within the business.
“I get to be an accountant, I can be a sales clerk out on the floor, I can go build a display, I can do merchandising, I get to go travel and go to market and pick things out. There’s just so many facets to it that are so much fun,” Dillard says.
Five years ago, Dillard’s daughter Sara opened Brianne’s Boutique in the same building. Sara grew her business, and it is now in its own building across the parking lot. Dillard is unsure what she’ll do with Brianne’s old space but is open to having another tenant if they were the right fit and would attract business to Teresa’s and Brianne’s.
Dillard is also part of a mastermind group of retailers from across the country. They meet up at market and once a year for a workshop with presentations and guest speakers.
“It’s very difficult to be out there by yourself trying to do a business like this today,” she says. “Basically, part of what helps me be successful is by utilizing their talents and their energy. We’ve gotten so many great ideas from them, and it’s just the power of that energy that keeps us all going.”
Teresa’s Hallmark has several customers who have been coming to the store for years, and one employee, Lynn, will celebrate her 20th anniversary with the company in November. One of Dillard’s all-time favorite customers are Melvin and Margaret Vandermeer. Melvin was the former principal of Center Grove High School and would talk to the Teresa’s employees while Margaret shopped for cards.
“Margaret would come up to the counter and she’d be checking out,” Dillard says. “He’d make some remark about how wonderful she was and she would just look up at him with just the sweetest look. It’s like the two of them were brand new newlyweds. He was just the nicest guy. I’ve had a lot of great customers over the years, but he was one of my most memorable and one of my favorite. There’s been a lot of customers like that over the years.”