Greeting cards for business 1206

Jim and Elaine Briley, owners of Shipyard Dog off U.S. 19 in Crystal River, routinely send physical greeting cards during the holidays but this year, they’ve ramped it up due to the global pandemic.

Jim said his wife Elaine is also enclosing personalized notes to family and friends because, with travel restrictions in place and so many people unable to get out, she wanted a better way to express their love and wishes.

“I think this year it’s more important than ever because you don’t have the ability to make contact with folks,” Briley said. “It’s the whole need to get back to basics as to how we connect.”

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The greeting card industry is expected to boom this year. Not emailed cards - too impersonal. The feeling is that physical holiday greeting cards better convey that feeling of love and folks are expected this year to revisit this time-honored Christmas tradition.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) expects more holiday gifts and greetings will be sent through the mail this year, as families and friends will hold virtual celebrations instead of opening gifts in person.

“This has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic and the Postal Service is expecting significant volume increases which are difficult to predict,” according to a USPS press release.

The USPS said the week of Dec. 14-21 is expected to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.

A November study by online global marketplace Enksy - a platform to customize and print cards - found that 79% of Americans will reduce their visits to loved ones this holiday season.

Fifteen percent of study respondents said they will go as far as avoiding visits to vulnerable loved ones altogether, while 24% said they will avoid all visits, staying in self-imposed lockdown.

As a result, 39% of folks said they would send holiday cards to loved ones this holiday season. This percentage increases to 46% for those that will avoid physical visits.

Local Citrus County shop owners haven’t seen much of a spike in card sales yet. But Doug Connors, owner of Connors Gifts in Inverness, said it might be too early in the season.

They are selling at a good pace though, he said.

Rosemarie Kay, owner of Rosemary’s Hallmark Shop in Beverly Hills, said sales of Christmas cards are brisk and, so far, on a par with past seasons.

“It’s normal,” she said. “Nothing extra going on.”

For the greeting card industry, this sudden resurgence in sending cards is welcome because the tradition has been in decline the past several years.

Briley said he doesn’t sell cards but he does customize assorted items and, this year, he got a first-time order from a Jacksonville company to design holiday mailing boxes to send to clients and customers.

“They wanted to be able to send something (to) say, ‘Hey, we miss you and we are looking forward to 2021,’” Briley said.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com. To see more of his stories, visit  tinyurl.com/y6kb23vv.

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