Twelve years ago, we were debating opening a Hallmark store and were invited to a dinner in Chicago with other Hallmark store owners. We had the good fortune of sitting across the table from Bette. At the time, Bette owned several Hallmark Gold Crown stores in the Kansas City area. We had no idea that we were about to embark on a wonderful friendship.
Bette became a great friend, mentor & inspiration as we started down the path of Hallmark ownership. Bette helped us plan our store layout, gave us product ideas and was always available for advice & tips for whatever issues we were facing.
Over the years, we would meet up with Bette at gift shows & Hallmark meetings. She was always excited about the business, looking for the next new thing & encouraging (or should I say “challenging”) us to be forward thinking about our business. Our favorite part of Bette – she would always admit to making a mistake which was so reassuring because we have made a few mistakes along the way. She would always say, “if you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not trying.”
Not only was Bette great for chatting about the business but she was a dear friend. The many laughs we shared over “store stories”, adventures with kids and all the curveballs that life throws your way. We kept up with family news, shared vacation stories, talked politics & celebrated new births & kids’ accomplishments.
It was with a sad heart, that when we met up with her at the last gift show, she said “I have news.” She was retiring. Although, we were thrilled for her, we were sad for us. Bette will have more time to spend with her grandkids and travel the world with her husband – two of her favorite things! Doing it now, while she still can is a gift. But we were sure going to miss her… A LOT!
A few months ago, Bette contacted us because even though she had sold her stores, she did not sell her e-commerce website. She wanted to know if we wanted to take over her website. We had been thinking about expanding to an e-commerce site but had not pulled the triggered. And once again, Bette was challenging us to be better store owners!
We’ve been working hard over the last few months to transfer ownership and update the website. And we’re thrilled to now be managing “Bette’s Gifts powered by Christine’s Hallmark”. You can now shop with us 24/7 at both www.christineshallmark.com & www.bettesgifts.com.
Although it won’t be the same without Bette being a part of our Hallmark owners group, we’re honored & thrilled to be carrying on a little bit of Bette’s legacy. And here’s hoping that she’ll just stop by St. Louis one day & pay us a visit. We’re ready!