Q&A: Designer Greetings emphasizes value, quality cards

Drug Store News spoke with Steven Gimbelman, president and CEO of Designer Greetings, to learn how the company helps its customers create a destination in their stores.

Greeting cards are still a thriving category. Even as email gave way to text messages, and they both gave way to FaceTime and Zoom calls, the physical greeting card remains a popular way to share sentiments — and a big opportunity for retailers, particularly independent pharmacies looking to provide the segment at a value and drive foot traffic.

Drug Store News spoke with Steven Gimbelman, president and CEO of Designer Greetings, to learn how the company helps its customers create a destination in their stores.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera
Steven Gimbelman, president and CEO of Designer Greetings

Drug Store News: Can you give us some background on Designer Greetings?  
Steven Gimbelman: Designer Greetings was founded in 1982 by my parents, Jack and Vickie Gimbelman. My father spent many years in the greeting card industry and saw an opportunity to start up his own business. From our humble beginnings of having only five employees to today with many key acquisitions, such as Card$mart, Glitterwrap, Madison Park Greetings, Northern Exposure and Palm Press, we remain true to our strong core values as a family-owned and operated company.  

DSN: What sets Designer Greetings apart from other card companies? 
SG: The strength of Designer Greetings is that we offer more than 23,000 everyday and seasonal greeting cards, in addition to our boxed and packaged notecards, boxed holiday cards and gift wrap line (Glitterwrap). We offer a variety of programs that are designed specifically to help independent pharmacies increase sales. The Card$mart Store-In-A-Store program — selling cards at 50% off every day — is a proven traffic driver for independent and small chain retailers. This program outvalues the regular-priced cards that are found in CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. Card$mart also provides a Preferred Giftware Vendor Program, which is an exclusive benefit to the retailer, whereby the store owner gains access to top gift vendors across multiple gift categories.

DSN: How does Designer Greetings build and maintain relationships with its customers? 
SG: Designer Greetings is just as committed to the high quality and value of our products as we are to being a leader in customer support. We have a dedicated and experienced nationwide sales team that helps find the program that best suits each location to maximize greeting card sales, creating happy retailers and consumers alike. We are able to successfully serve the customers of today’s marketplace by consistently calling on and servicing our retailers, ensuring optimal product selection, a well-balanced pricing model, caption differentiation and presentation.

DSN: What are some of the biggest opportunities for independent pharmacies in the greeting card space? 
SG: Designer Greetings’ Card$mart program outvalues the national drug chains by offering a “50% Off” greeting card program. The three national drug chains sell their cards at full price — a price that is only continuing to rise. Even though the cost to the customer is half the retail price, Card$mart greeting cards do not sacrifice on quality. Having such a nationally recognized value brand as Card$mart not only entices customers to view the location as a destination store, but it also helps to attract new customers seeking to purchase high-quality products at a super value. Consumers are starting to come back to their brick-and-mortar stores once again, and this unique shopping experience offers buyers multiple options within a single pharmacy.

DSN: What are some new offerings from your lines that you want people to know about? 
SG: Designer Greetings is always updating existing product with fresh, new designs to stay up to date with the latest trends. We recently refreshed many of our popular card lines, from the topical humor of “A Little Salty” to the high-end collection found in “Premier Boutique.” In the near future, we will be adding three-dimensional pop-up features and other unique treatments to select cards that promise to provide an even more memorable and extra-special way to celebrate all of life’s occasions. And in addition to greeting cards, Designer Greetings now produces a stationery line of journals and planners.