Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

S Shopper Stories


ANN’S HALLMARK

The go-to place for that special gift gets a monumental makeover

by Christine Knapp


Owner Terrie Walsh and Manager Donna O’Sullivan

Owner Terrie Walsh and Manager Donna O’Sullivan

Terrie Walsh, owner of Ann’s Hallmark in Chesapeake, is celebrating the shop’s 39th year in business with a complete renovation. “Next year the store turns the big four-o, so it needed to have ‘a little work done,’” Terrie says with a laugh.

From employees unplugging cash registers and packing up boxes of items to hiring contractors to paint and lay down new floors, the recently completed remodel has been a true labor of love. The store was originally owned by Terrie’s mother, Connie Ann Tucker, and her business partner, Patricia Ann Saleet. Continuing her mother’s legacy has become Terrie’s lifework.

The shop has undergone minor tweaks and changes in the past, but they were nothing compared to this  recent monumental transformation. Terrie’s creative attention to detail can  be seen in the beautiful new hardwood flooring, the gray valance lighting, the updated paint and the open floor plan. Long-time customers comment on how much bigger the shop looks, even though no expansion occurred. In fact, the changes are so dramatic that one customer walked into the store and then walked out, only to return a few seconds later, unsure if he was in the right place!

“Now the shop has a charming rustic look,” Terrie observes. “We want to provide our customers with a welcoming and fun shopping experience, and be the ‘go-to’ place for that special gift.”

Terrie’s eye for unique gift items is evident upon entering the store. Coastal-themed items, pineapple-adorned trays, flamingo totes, beautiful stationery, wooden engagement signs, Willow Tree figurines, Pura Vida bracelets and Vera Bradley purses are expertly showcased in beautiful, captivating displays. Terrie explains that one of the tables that she used for showing off her wedding collection was hand-painted gray to help enhance the display’s look. Because many big-box retailers have cut back on items traditionally given as gifts at baby and wedding showers, the latest renovations at Ann’s Hallmark include expansions of both the baby and wedding departments. Customers can now browse through a greater variety of clothes, albums, frames, signs and other specialized gifts. And, of course, greeting cards—a staple in every Hallmark store—are available.


“Now the shop has a charming rustic look.
 We want to provide our customers
with a welcoming
and fun shopping experience,
and be the ‘go-to’ place
for that special gift.”

—Terrie Walsh


To carry on her mother’s proud tradition of exceptional customer service, Terrie makes sure that every employee is not only knowledgeable about all of the products for sale, but is also willing to go the extra mile for anyone who enters the shop.
“If customers come in and want an item we don’t stock, I will special order it for them,” Terrie says. “Just the other day, a customer came in looking for Father’s Day cards, but we had already packed them away and they were on the top shelf in the stock room. The customer’s husband had been on deployment, and she was still hoping to purchase a card for him. We climbed up the ladder, got the boxes down and found a card for her.”


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


Terrie’s attention to detail, her extensive product knowledge, and her commitment to customer satisfaction are what make a visit to Ann’s Hallmark so different from the impersonal experience of ordering a card or gift item online. For nearly four decades, locals have been making that visit  whenever they have needed a card or gift. In some families those visits have become a multi-generational tradition.

Donna O’Sullivan, operations manager, emphasizes how important these legacy customers are to Ann’s Hallmark. “We have had customers come in with their kids over the years,” she explains, “and we have watched those kids grow up. Now those kids are in here shopping as adults with their kids. All of us who work here think of our customers as part of our family.”

Ann’s Hallmark is also dedicated to the community, actively supporting local first responders and schools. The shop assists many local fire departments, police departments, and even local pet shelters by graciously donating gifts to their special fundraising efforts and events. Its “family-first” mindset is front and center in all they do. 

Dedicated to growing their family, Ann’s Hallmark will host a “Grand Re-opening” event on August 18, 2018 to celebrate and show off their recent renovations. Besides refreshments, discounts on popular lines, drawings for big giveaways and free gifts with certain purchases, live entertainment will add to the party-like atmosphere. The event will also serve as a kick-off to the holiday season. Customers can sign up for a free Gold Crown Card that allows them to receive points for in-store purchases, as well as special coupons and email updates on events.


With the new remodel, Owner Terrie Walsh envisions Ann’s Hallmark <BR>evolving into a boutique-style gift shop.

With the new remodel, Owner Terrie Walsh envisions Ann’s Hallmark
evolving into a boutique-style gift shop.

Terrie’s vision for the shop’s future, now that the remodel has been completed, is that it will continue evolving into more of a boutique that will serve as a destination for anyone looking for a customized, personalized gift for a family member or friend.

“Our Keepsake Ornaments are true collector’s items,” Terrie explains. “Decorating the tree is a family tradition every year, and these ornaments are reminders of special memories that can be passed down to future generations. People want to collect these mementos and hand them down to their children. When the kids move out of the house, they get their box of ornaments to start their own traditions with their families.”

“When most people hear the name Hallmark, they instantly think of greeting cards, but we offer so much more than that,” Terrie concludes. “We also have local artisan gifts, special collectibles, and other truly unique items. Just ordering and sending something from online can seem so impersonal—especially when the gift’s intended for someone who means so much to you. We are that place where people can go and pick out the perfect gift for someone special in their life. We can help make that gift personal.”




Anns 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