American Greetings has been building its sturdy house of cards for more than a century. The company holds the #1 position by volume in the North American greeting card market and #2 by sales behind Hallmark. It produces greeting cards, party goods, and gift wraps under iconic brand names such as American Greetings, Papyrus, Recycled Paper Greetings, Gibson, and Carlton Cards. The company's AG Interactive subsidiary distributes online greeting cards and other interactive media. The company's products are sold through more than 60,000 card and stationery stores, mass merchants, and other retail outlets worldwide. In 2018, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice acquired a 60% stake in family-owned American Greetings. Descendants of the founding family retained the other 40%.
Change in Company Type
In April 2018, American Greetings was acquired by private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R). CD&R-managed funds acquired a 60% ownership stake in the company with the Weiss family, descendants of company founder Jacob Sapirstein, retaining a 40% stake in the business.
American Greetings operates worldwide producing greeting cards under the brand names American Greetings, Carlton Cards, Gibson, Recycled Paper Greetings, and Papyrus. Its other offerings include DesignWare party goods and gift wrap and boxed cards under the American Greetings and Plus Mark brand names.
The company also sells its cards on Cardstore.com and produces e-cards, which are available online at its AmericanGreetings.com website. It holds 440 patents, more than 2,500 copyrights, and 1,000 trademarks.
Cleveland, Ohio-based American Greetings operates a headquarters facility, which it calls American Greetings Creative Studios. The company also has four manufacturing and distribution facilities in Greeneville, TN, Ripley, TN, Danville, KY. and Osceola, AR. It sells its products worldwide.
In 1906 Polish immigrant Jacob Sapirstein founded Sapirstein Greeting Card Company and began selling postcards from a horse-drawn wagon. The outbreak of WWI and the resulting separation of families helped spur demand for the company's products. The impact of the war also helped shape the company's future; after an embargo was imposed on cards produced in Germany, Sapirstein decided to begin manufacturing his own cards.
In 1940, the company adopted the American Greetings Publishers name and its sales topped $1 million. The company incorporated as American Greetings in 1944 and went public in 1952. It introduced Hi Brows, a line of funny studio cards, in 1956 and broke ground on a 1.5 million-sq.-ft. headquarters building the same year. The ubiquitous Holly Hobbie made her first appearance on greeting cards in 1967 and within a decade, she had become the world's most popular licensed female character. The success of Holly Hobbie licensing prompted American Greetings to create its own licensing division in 1980. In 1982, it introduced the Care Bears, licensed characters that appeared in animated films.
The company bought Magnivision (nonprescription reading glasses) in 1993. It ventured onto the Internet two years later, when it began offering online greeting cards. The company branched into supplemental educational products the following year when it unveiled its Learning Horizons product line.
Its acquisitions of greeting card companies Camden Graphics and Hanson White in 1998 helped American Greetings double its presence in the UK. As part of an international restructuring plan, in 1999 the company shuttered a Canadian plant, eliminating 650 jobs. Later that year, in an expansion of its existing agreement with America Online, American Greetings' online unit (AmericanGreetings.com) became AOL's exclusive provider of electronic greetings. The company subsequently filed to take AmericanGreetings.com public, intending to retain a majority of the company. It withdrew its filing the following year when the Internet market went sour.
In 2018, American Greetings was acquired by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, with the Weiss family, descendants of Sapirstein , retaining a 40% stake in the business.
1 AMERICAN BLVD
Cleveland, OH 44145-8151
Phone: 1 (216) 252-7300
Employer Type: Privately Owned
Chairman: Morry Weiss
Co-CEO: Jeffrey M. Weiss
Co-CEO: Zev Weiss
Employees (This Location): 1,700
Employees (All Locations): 27,500