Hallmark Canada: Celebrating 100 years of helping Canadians say it all

Greeting card maker provides Canadians with products that inspire meaningful connections

This year, Hallmark Canada celebrates 100 years of providing Canadians with products that inspire meaningful connections, enhance relationships and enrich lives.

Founded in 1916 as the William E. Coutts Company, today Hallmark Canada, based in Markham, Ont., distributes Hallmark-branded greeting cards and other social expression products through more than 3,000 stores across the country—including top mass retailers and the network of Hallmark Gold Crown stores.

“Hallmark is a well-known brand, trusted by Canadians to provide quality, authentic products that resonate with people,” says Cindy Mahoney, president of Hallmark Canada. “As society has changed over the last 100 years, so has Hallmark. Our products have always been a reflection of society at a given time and the relationships that shape it.”

A handshake that marked a new business opportunity

Equipped with only 125 card designs and 10 employees, William E. (“Bill”) Coutts, and his company, William E. Coutts Company, began selling greeting cards across Canada in 1916. As Coutts’ sales grew, he determined that a partnership with U.S.-based greeting card company, Hall Brothers, could further strengthen his business.

Therefore in December of 1931, Bill Coutts placed a call to Hall Brothers founder, Joyce C. Hall. Bill introduced himself and told J.C. of his interest to manufacture Hall Brothers designs in Canada on a royalty basis. Intrigued, J.C. invited Bill to visit for an in-person discussion, and within a week Bill traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, for a meeting in J.C.’s home. That evening, a business deal was struck through a simple handshake. As Bill later recalled, “We shook hands and thus began an agreement, which was to last for more than 10 years before ever being put into a formal written contract.”

In 1948, following years of a successful Coutts-Hallmark partnership, Bill Coutts and J.C. Hall agreed that Hall Brothers, by then known as Hallmark Cards, would buy an interest in Coutts, and in 1958, Hallmark Cards bought the balance of the company.

“Today, our commitment to Canadian retailers and consumers is stronger than ever,” says Cindy. “We are dedicated to creativity and innovation so we continue to provide Canadians with the very best products that deliver a life-affirming benefit to both the giver and the recipient.”

Evolving with the changing world

Hallmark Canada continues to transform the industry through its robust product offering including greeting card lines such as Signature, Lotus and Shoebox, familiar items such as Keepsake Ornaments, and innovative products such as Recordable Storybooks and itty bittys plush characters.

As it begins its second century, Hallmark Canada looks forward to evolving with the changing world and continuing to meet the connection and relationship needs of Canadian consumers.

“At our core, we have always been a brand that understands and enriches people’s lives and relationships,” Cindy says. “Hallmark Canada is committed to creating a more emotionally connected world, by making a genuine difference in every life, every day. It’s a mission we’ve been on throughout our first century and one that guides us into our next one.”

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