The Hallmark shop in Liberty Square under new ownership
Businessman Rich Edwards hadn’t planned on owning a Hallmark store when he visited the one in Liberty Square in Putnam County a little more than a year ago. The owner of the Village Heirlooms furniture store near Hurricane, and several other businesses, had simply stopped in to do some shopping.
“I was looking for some things, and I knew one of the ladies that works here. I found out when I was here that the owner might be interested in selling it,” Edwards said. “I asked for his name and phone number.”
Edwards, a Lincoln County native, contacted the owner, and, after some negotiations, he and his wife, Jennifer, decided to purchase what is now known as JRE’s Hallmark Shop. They became the new owners on March 1 of this year.
The shop started out in the nearby Putnam Village Shopping Center more than 35 years ago, but moved to Liberty Square when it was built. Liberty Square is just off the Teays Valley exit of Interstate 64.
In purchasing the Hallmark store, Edwards saw some “synergies” between it and his Village Heirloom furniture store, which specializes in Amish-made furniture. His Amish connections are a resource for JBE’s Hallmark store.
“I saw some synergies in being able to sell some of the Amish-made gift items, which we’ve done,” Edwards said.
Edwards said his wife does most of the buying for the shop.
“She’s very involved in the buying for this business. We’ve doubled our inventory,” he said. “She just got back last month from a very large buyers’ show in Atlanta.”
Although Amish-made gifts have been added, visitors to JBE’s Hallmark store at Liberty Square will still find familiar Hallmark cards, gifts and the company’s signature line of Christmas ornaments, which are popular with collectors.
“We still have the card section, and that’s typical of most Hallmark shops.”
As the owners of JRE’s Hallmark, the Edwardses are free to stock their shop with other gift items of their choosing. It’s the Amish-made gift items, though, that help to make JRE’s Hallmark store unique.
Among the Amish gift items available are wooden baskets that can fold flat to make trivets or hot plates.
“It’s really cool -- it’s one, continuous cut. The guy who makes these makes them in about 30 different shapes,” he said. “We’ve got several of those here.”
Other items include Amish-made bird feeders, solid oak TV tray sets, quilt display stands, rocking chairs, vegetable bins, artworks and hall trees on which to hang hats and coats. A hand-carved, wooden black bear is also on display in the shop.
“This is hand-carved by a 14-year-old Amish boy,” he said. “Anything you see in here that’s made of wood is Amish-made.”
Another example of an Amish-made gift at JBE’s Hallmark store is a mirror/jewelry case.
“It has a place to hang your necklaces and slots to put rings in. So basically, you have a beautiful dressing mirror that doubles up as a place to store jewelry.”
For those looking for Hallmark’s collectible Christmas ornaments, JBE’s Hallmark store has them in stock. In fact, this year’s collection was introduced last month during Hallmark’s “Christmas in July” event.
JRE’s Hallmark hosted a Christmas ornament “premiere party” the night before the ornaments were offered for sale.
“At the stroke of midnight, we had an unveiling of the ornaments. Christmas is a big deal with Hallmark,” Edwards said.
JBE’s Hallmark store is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.