Saturday, July 11th, 2020

Ann’s Hallmark Story


ANN’S HALLMARK

Celebrating 40 years of providing ideal gifts for any occasion

by Candance Moore


Owner Terrie Walsh and her mother, Connie Huston Tucker, the founder of Ann’s Hallmark

Owner Terrie Walsh and her mother, Connie Huston Tucker, the founder of Ann’s Hallmark

In 1979, former nurse Connie Huston Tucker bought a tiny gift shop in Great Bridge Shopping Center. Her sales staff consisted of her mother, Maretta Miller, and a modest group of down-to-earth moms and wives—Mary Saunders,  Sandy Dean, Claudia Rogan, and Barbara Holden—all of whom remain friends to this day. Little could they imagine that 40 years later, Ann’s Hallmark Gold Crown Store would be a major local landmark celebrating a special place in Great Bridge history.

By consistently providing high-quality products and heartfelt neighborly service, Ann’s Hallmark gained a loyal following. It outgrew its first retail space and then its second, finally landing in a spacious location, still in Great Bridge Shopping Center where the children and grandchildren of its earliest customers now come to shop. Connie’s daughter Terrie Walsh watched through the years as their commitment to quality and service continued to bring success. When she moved into ownership in 1999, she promised her mother that this commitment would never change.

“We have generations of local families who’ve come to depend on us,” Terrie says. “When they need a gift or card for a life event, this is where they turn. We feel a huge responsibility to make sure that we take care of them.”

Terrie—along with her sister Joanie and brother Doug—shared in ownership after Connie’s retirement. Store Manager Mary Saunders, part of the founding crew, stayed in her role during the transition. The siblings worked hard to grow the business and keep it modern without losing touch with its core values. Thanks to guidance from Connie and Mary, Ann’s Hallmark grew stronger. They expanded into Suffolk and Virginia Beach, maintaining the values that made the business so trusted. Donna O’Sullivan, Mary’s assistant manager, clicked with Terrie. A new team grounded in the old team began to emerge.

The store’s popularity earned its reputation as the go-to place for gifts for any occasion. Regardless of the life event being celebrated or observed, customers came in, trusting the staff to recommend the ideal options. Military families, new to the area and unsure of where to go, came in search of the perfect welcome home gift. Pet memorials attracted customers looking for the ideal token of affection. In each situation, Terrie’s team responded with incredible expertise and grace.

“My employees are fantastic at what they do!” Terrie says with a warm smile. “I often see them crying or laughing with a customer as they find an unexpectedly perfect gift. They truly enjoy their work, and it shows.”


“We have generations of local families
who’ve come to depend on us.
When they need
a gift or card for a life event,
this is where they turn.”

—Terrie Walsh


The search for a meaningful gift for any occasion drove Terrie to expand her vision. While Ann’s Hallmark still sells as many cards as ever, it continually introduces more diverse options for gifts and décor. The staff is fully trained to understand the value and significance of each product line.

When her siblings moved on with other career pursuits, Terrie found herself the sole proprietor of Ann’s Hallmark. “We closed the Red Mill location, but the flagship Chesapeake store and the newly-remodeled Suffolk location are more than enough to keep me busy!” Meanwhile, Mary Saunders had retired, leaving Donna to step into the role of Store Manager. Terrie and Donna work together closely to maintain the level of service their customers have come to expect.

“Not many businesses can say they’ve had only two managers in forty years,” Terrie notes. “I attribute a lot of the success that Ann’s Hallmark has enjoyed over the years to the wonderful managers we’ve had. Donna has been with me every step of the way, and I can’t over-emphasize her skills as a manager. She’s an employee, but she’s also a great friend.”


The knowledgeable and friendly staff of Ann’s Hallmark is dedicated to helping every customer find the perfect card and gift. The Great Bridge staff (from left): Manager Donna O’Sullivan, Brenda Hall, Deanna Bailey, Jackie Yeager, Michelle Lorsong, Anna Worrell, Laura Edmonds, Joan Corcoran, and Assistant Manager Sue Mann. (Not pictured: Betty Sue Harris.)

The knowledgeable and friendly staff of Ann’s Hallmark is dedicated to helping every customer find the perfect card and gift. The Great Bridge staff (from left): Manager Donna O’Sullivan, Brenda Hall, Deanna Bailey, Jackie Yeager, Michelle Lorsong, Anna Worrell, Laura Edmonds, Joan Corcoran, and Assistant Manager Sue Mann. (Not pictured: Betty Sue Harris.)


Terrie and Donna share ideas on how to bring the most in-demand gifts and products to Ann’s Hallmark. The Nora Fleming collectible stoneware line captivated them, so now it has a prominent table toward the front of the store. 4Ocean bracelets, one of the hottest social movements of the year, was a cause Terrie enthusiastically supported. Ivory Ella, SCOUT, Vera Bradley, Inis, and Simply Southern are just a few of the latest additions. There’s also a growing selection of tasteful gifts for men.

These newer additions haven’t crowded out the beloved brands for which Hallmark is known.

“This is still very much a Hallmark store!” Donna says with a smile. “We’ve managed to incorporate some fresh products and worthy causes into our Hallmark identity. It takes hard work and careful planning, but our customers deserve it—and they’ve responded positively.”

Each turn in the Chesapeake store reveals another delight: red cartons of Aspen Cider Spices; the shiny gold wrapping of Godiva Chocolates; the scintillating scents of Michel Design Works and Yankee Candle, and of course, rows and rows of cards for every imaginable occasion. Since Ann’s Hallmark is a Gold Crown Store, it has access to the latest exclusive products, including this year’s line of Keepsake Ornaments. Customers are encouraged to become Gold Crown members for rewards and exclusive deals.

In honor of 40 years of community support, Ann’s Hallmark in Great Bridge is hosting an anniversary celebration October 26th.  With special discounts and generous coupons, it’s an excellent opportunity to have extravagant fall décor at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. It’s also the perfect time to invest in meaningful holiday gifts… not to mention checking out the latest ornaments! After the anniversary event, Hallmark’s annual Holiday Open House is on November 9th.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it!” Terrie says. “I’m determined to keep this legacy going.”

Terrie certainly has the support of locals, many of whom agree that Chesapeake wouldn’t be the same without Ann’s Hallmark!




Ann�s Hallmark

237 S. Battlefield Blvd.
Chesapeake, VA 23322

757-482-1515

1419 N. Main Street
Suffolk, VA 23434
757-539-9399



http://www.hallmark.com