Alumna gives an inside look into Hallmark
A Hallmark greeting card is as synonymous with Valentine's Day as chocolates and flowers. A true part of Americana, Hallmark Cards is headquartered in Kansas City, MO however a major part of the business can be found just up the road from the University of Connecticut
Located an hour's drive from the UConn campus in Storrs, the Hallmark Distribution Center in Enfield, CT serves as the hub for all retail distribution of Hallmark merchandise east of the Mississippi River. Hallmark's east coast distribution needs have been served by Enfield since 1952. The modern 1 million square foot facility opened in 1980 and employs a total staff of 657.
Valentine's Day is the 2nd busiest holiday for Hallmark Cards (after Christmas), accounting for $91.4 million in sales from the east coast alone. The company offers around 1,200 different cards for the holiday to fit a wide variety of consumer needs in addition to other commemorative merchandise.
The Daily Campus was invited to tour the Enfield facility this past Wednesday. The tour guide was Candice Young, a May 2013 UConn graduate with a degree in Management and Engineering for Manufacturing, has been an Order Processing Manager at the center since June 2013 and is currently the youngest manager on staff.
While still a UConn undergraduate student, Young interned at the center in the summer between her sophomore and junior years and spent the following summer at Hallmark's west coast distribution center in Liberty, MO.
In addition to her full time role at Hallmark, Young is also pursuing a Master's Degree in Management Concentrating in Global Supply Chain at RPI in Hartford.
Surprisingly, there was very little Valentine's Day merchandise left on the factory's stocking shelves during the visit. Young explained that Hallmark begins manufacture and distribution of a particular season's greeting cards and merchandise well in advance. Distribution of Valentine's Day merchandise actually begins in Mid-November.
Young mentioned that the center's busiest month of year production wise was actually March, as both Mother's Day and Graduation season products are produced during that time.
However despite Valentine's Day being only days away during the tour, a small yet significant amount of merchandise remained on the stocking shelves. Ms. Young explained that not every single thing will sell during a given holiday season and depending on the product, the unsold items will either be reused the following year or recycled, they are never simply thrown away.
Before the visit ended, Ms. Young answered a few of our lingering questions.
DC: Do you enjoy working for Hallmark?
Candice Young: "I do. I get to see something different every day, all of the new products coming through for future holiday seasons. I enjoy walking through the factory floor and seeing all of the upcoming merchandise."
DC: How well would you say the University of Connecticut prepared you for this job?
Candice Young: "Since I was in such a small major, we had a lot of companies coming in to support us in terms of doing mock interviews and factory tours, I feel UConn's engineering school really prepared me for coming out here."
DC: What advice can you offer to students who may be interested in pursuing a career at Hallmark?
Candice Young: "They should check our website. We're constantly recruiting for internships. Most of our internships are based out in Missouri, but there are some opportunities here in Enfield."
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