Schurman Retail Group, the US specialist greeting card retailing group, whose stores trade under Papyrus, Paper Destiny, Niquea.D, American Greetings and Carlton Cards is closing down all its 260 stores. Liquidation sales have begun in all stores, under the management of Gordon Brothers.
Striking a major blow to the US greeting card market, with ramifications on the UK publishers who supply the chain direct, this sees the end of a long-established pioneering business.
In a letter to all staff, Dominique Schurman, coo of the company cited “current challenges of the retail industry” and said the company had been “diligently working to revitalise our business” for months, but these efforts were not successful..
Schurman Retail Group was founded by Dominique’s parents Marcel and Margrit Schurman back in 1950. Both European immigrants, they were inspired by a love of fine art and by an appreciation for beautiful, high quality papers and design. They began importing and wholesaling fine art postcards from Germany to fine retailers into the States.
The first Papyrus retail shop opened in 1973 in Berkeley, California which began the retail wing of Schurman Fine Papers (now, the Schurman Retail Group).
Over the next five years, more Papyrus stores opened around the United States, and the company soon began selling franchises. In the 1980s, the company began to produce its own Papyrus products.
Dominique became the ceo of Schurman Fine Papers and Papyrus in 1991 when there were around 37 Papyrus stores. By 2005, the company had grown to around 146 Papyrus shops. In 2009, Schurman Retail Group, purchased all 346 American Greetings retail stores.
At its height Papyrus operated 450 stores throughout the United States and Canada.
The company did flirt with the idea of launching in the UK, but trademark issues precluded it from opening under the Papyrus name. Instead adopting Jolie Papier, opening its first store in Bluewater Shopping Centre in 2014 with a second opening in Newcastle.
Dominque (under SRG) was ceo of Clintons for several years, appointed when Clintons was acquired by the Weiss family in 2012. Her transatlantic role saw her juggle heading up Clintons (involving the development of the new look) as well as the SRG operation in California.
She spoke at the UK GCA AGM in October 2015 in which she shared her lifelong love affair with greeting cards.
“We live in a complex world, made up of complex individuals, with complex, multi-faceted needs. The pace of our world today is accelerated and amped up beyond what we could ever have imagined even 20 years ago,” she relayed back then. Yet for all these changes, Dominique stressed how she felt greeting cards will continue to have a role as they are a potent means to“enable our ability to genuinely connect with other people.”
Sadly Papyrus shops and their sibling brands look unlikely to continue to play a part in that connection.
Top: Liquidation sales are now underway in all Papyrus stores.