By Carol Tannenhauser
Changing consumer habits, the rise of e-cards, and the decline of correspondence sent by “snail mail” are all possible reasons why three neighborhood Papyrus greeting card and stationery stores are closing, following the shutdown of their parent company.
Shurman Retail Group, owner of Papyrus, the 70-year-old purveyor of “personal expression” products, is closing its 254 locations across North America, Retail Dive first reported. In terms of bankruptcy, the company is “exploring its options,” a spokesperson told WSR. The UWS stores affected are located at 209 Columbus Avenue (69th and 70th), 2157 Broadway (76th), and The Shops at Columbus Circle (59th).
Schurman CEO Dominique Schurman sent WSR the following statement:
Despite our Herculean efforts to realign our…stores to fit today’s shopping environment, Schurman Retail Group had to make the difficult decision to close all 254 of our stores in North America, which will impact our workforce of about 1,400 employees. We will close most stores over the next 4-6 weeks. We want to thank all of our loyal customers for their patronage of our proud family business started by my parents 70 years ago.
No one answered the phone on Monday at the Columbus Avenue store, and the message at Columbus Circle said the number was “no longer in service,” which could mean they’ve already shuttered. Katira, a salesperson at the Broadway store said it would be closing in the next four to six weeks and, in the meantime, “the entire store is 20% off and all sales are final.”
Thanks to Gretchen for the tip.
I’m flabbergasted! While I don’t know anyone who reads a physical newspaper anymore every Christmas and birthday cards we get are ones you can put on the dining room table.
I read paper newspapers. My parents do as well.
My spouse and I and others we know read physical papers. I occasionally see other oldsters doing so on the train or bus.
People design and order cards online.
This is so surprising to me as I probably patronize Papyrus stores at least a dozen times a year and when I do they are always busy, always a line at the register, etc. On top of that, they have always had a large presence in all Duane Reade and Walgreens stores, Barnes & Noble, etc. I never would that’s thought they were struggling.
I’m guessing it is the stores in traditional malls that are really struggling, as many malls are in free fall and facing challenges. Andrew Yang has spoken of this very thing…Amazon and the like are significant drivers in this, and, alas, retail jobs in general are taking a hit.
I don’t find this surprising, but I think cards are a generational thing. I believe I received a grand total of THREE Christmas cards this year. These days I really only send physical cards to my older relatives–everything else I do via e-mail or text. It’s more immediate, less wasteful, and far less expensive. A beautiful card plus postage can easily total $8 or more, and I’m sure my nephews would rather have that 8 bucks included in their gift, instead of a card they’ll look at and immediately throw away. And on the rare occasion that I do want to send a physical card, I generally opt for something unique. Etsy is a fantastic source for lovely handmade cards, and many artists offer digital downloads that can be print at home to save on postage.
I don’t send cards in the mail, but I always went to papyrus to get physical cards to give “gifts” (aka holiday tips) to the various folks I have to tip at the end of the year.
Thankfully I’m stocked up for at least the next year or two.
They have beautiful cards.
How depressing that people don’t send cards with handwritten notices anymore.
I would imagine it’s a hard to be a one-trick physical pony in the diversified digital age.
I think I only received 2 “store-bought” cards this year. People whom I know are more likely to send either a hand-made holiday greeting (drawing, or water color) or have custom, personalized cards designed and printed. Mass-produced cards seem kind of tacky.
That said, it would seem like a stationery and “personal correspondence products” store like Papyrus, might align well with a bookstore (like Book Culture) trying to diversify its service/product line. The same market segment that reads physical books (and newspapers?) might have a natural overlap with that which sends physical cards.
Add in the gift-wrapping service that Papyrus offered (thanks again for that, Papyrus), plus flowers and plants suitable as gifts, and maybe an espresso bar (Plant Shed, anyone?) and you might have a sustainable going concern.
At least one branch of Book Culture is (temporarily?) closed: Book Culture on Columbus.
People still send snail mail. But cards with a $4.95 to $7.95 price range are not being sent. And Papyrus had too many stores. It overpriced and over-expanded. But people STILL appreciate receiving hand-crafted messages in the mail!
I find cards in the mail annoying and not very personal. I get them mostly from curmudgeons and older friends who take pride in their non use of technology. It’s 20th Century commercialism that is on the decline. I hardly get or send snail mail. All you do with this stuff is throw it out.
It looks like I beat everyone: I received at least a dozen cards over the holiday season via snail mail and most were from “not so senior” people. I even found a New Years card in my box with pictures of the entire family of a dear friend.
Amazon or whatever other reason people can come up with is not the reason why this business closed. Walk into a Paper Source and you will see the differences in customer service and quality of products. Once again, the theme here is failure to adapt.
Agree. It’s not about whether people send e-cards or not (which I do often). I stopped into the Broadway Papyrus in September seeking a birthday gift for a young woman who does scrapbooking, and is a fan of journals, notebooks and whimsical cards. The selection was sparse and unimaginative — cheap-looking goods at substantial prices. The store was poorly organized and unappealing. Paper Source, on the other hand, feels targeted to creative people who use paper as a medium for expression and fun. It’s sad that Papyrus, with its 70-year-old history of family ownership, could not adapt to current tastes and trends in paper goods, despite its “Herculean efforts.”
This made me cry today. Just to go into a beautiful store that paid homage to the beautifully handmade cards of yesteryear made me happy. It’s not just the 1400 employees who will lose their jobs but the people who made the labor intensive product. Another example of the continuing erosion of the human connection and decline in our quality of life. RIP Papyrus.
This made me very sad today. Just to go into a lovely store that paid homage to the beautifully crafted cards of yesteryear made me happy. Another example of the continuing erosion of the human connection and decline in our quality of life in addition to the never ending sad loss of obsolete jobs.
Was at the Columbus circle store on Monday. Was open and everything was marked 20% off.
The Stuart Weitzman store next door to Papyrus just closed as well. I saw paper over the windows last night.
The Stewart Weitzman being there never made any sense especially with how close the bigger store at Columbus Circle is. The scaffolding there definitely hasn’t helped. I’d like to see Lush move out of the Hotel Belleclaire and take over those two spaces next to L’Occitane (which is always empty too.
That whole block aside from Lululemon (which is also super oversaturated in the area) is just sad.
Scaffolding? So surprised it contributed to its demise.
It’s the end of an era.
I’m so sorry to hear this. It was my go to place for interesting wrapping paper, gift bags and birthday cards.
For those who still want to buy nice boxed holiday cards – Barnes and Noble has them.
I love Papyrus’ cards but rarely buy them because they are wickedly expensive!! $6 or $7 for a single card? Even while liquidating the entire inventory, only 20% off? Yikes.
Sorry to see them go but …
They’ve found cheaper distribution channels through drug stores (eg walgreens) and box stores (Target). We’ll still be able to get their products there.
It’s interesting how people can go into a store like this and come out with an immensely different opinion. My coworkers and friends have shopped here for years, for every occasion imaginable, sometimes buying a card just for the sheer creativity that went into it. My favorite is a beautiful gold and red Chinese take-out theme, complete with mini wood chop sticks, plastic soy sauce packettes, and cardboard containers with metal handles, topped off with a gold ribbon and fortune cookie charm. Actually, I loved that one so much I kept it. Each card is a little work of art. This is one store I will definitely miss. 🙁
I’ve collected all of the childrens cards over the years, for birthdays and holiday sthey had felt cards with removable felt finger puppets. Also an amazing selection of baby cards with real knit booties, etc. The kids love them! I would never send an e-card to a child or an expectant mother, or someone who’s sick, in the hospital, death in the family etc. I think e-cards are inappropriate for a number of things.
Put me in the “guy who still reads newspapers” category, so maybe that dates me a bit. But I think that sending an e-card is not the same thing as sending someone an actual birthday or other event card. Email invitations have definitely taken the place of mailed card invitations, but I don’t think the same applies to birthdays, etc. It’s just a tough retail atmosphere on all fronts.
Very sad and shocked. My “go to” place when I need a “lift.” The stuff here is just gorgeous. I send paper cards for all occasions. I love receiving them and sending them with all the beautiful stamps I collect. No e-cards for me.
Of all the store closings of late, this is the one which truly upsets me, far and away…A uniquely exquisite store…irreplaceable. I hope the owner knows how much her store was cherished. I was in the Broadway store today, and each person who walked through the door whilst I was there was upset; some grieving the loss of a reliable source of pleasure and beauty for many years of their lives. Blessings to her during this difficult period of loss and transition. I loved her vision.