Four Jacklyn's Hallmark workers have almost 95 years combined experience

By Greg Miller

Jacklyn Isbell, the owner of Jacklyn's Hallmark, praises the efforts of four long-time employees -- Anne McKinney, Patsy Denny, Sue Carroll and Carol Blevins.
   McKinney and Denny have worked at the store almost 30 years each, Carroll has worked at the store for 20 years, and Blevins has been employed there for 15 years.
   "I think it's neat that they've been here for as long as they have, because it's like a family," Isbell said. "They know (the customers) their likes and dislikes and can help them more. I'm just real appreciative that they've worked here as long as they have, so it was real easy for me to be able to come in and buy the store when I know I have a great base of employees. I used to work with these ladies years ago when I worked here growing up. They are good ladies. When I walk out of the store I like knowing that it's in good hands."
   In late March or early April, the store will begin four new services. Those services include engraving sterling silver jewelry, printing invitations, the sale of gift cards, and weighing, wrapping and mailing services.
   Jacklyn's Hallmark "has something to offer to the whole family," Isbell said. "Men can come in here and look at the large selection of magazines and books. There are things for children, like the plush animals and children's books. For the mom or the lady, there's the home accessories and, of course, the Hallmark cards, because we wouldn't be a store without the Hallmark."
   The store carries a wide selection of cards, including those for pet birthdays. "There is probably not an occasion out there that we don't have a card for, and when you're a Hallmark Gold Crown store, which is what we are, we have a larger selection," Isbell said.
   In order to become a Hallmark Gold Crown store, a store must meet certain qualifications. "There are certain guidelines that you have to have," Isbell said. "You have to have so many feet of cards. Your store has to look a certain way. You have to participate in several of their programs. All the commercials that you see out there that Hallmark has, when you're a Gold Crown store, you get to participate in that. They check with us every year and rate our store and make sure we're doing those things." The store has participated in the program since it began.
   The store has "a large selection of Yankee Candles and the Willow Tree Angel, which is a neat new item. We have plush animals, Ty, which is very popular. The Beanie still seems to be selling, not as well as it used to. We're getting a large selection of gag gifts in, which are really neat. We have Harley-Davidson items for the person out there who is a bike rider. We have Bibles and books, so I'd like to think that for any occasion you could come into the store and purchase something, whether it's for an anniversary, a birthday, a wedding gift, or a baby shower.
   "We give everybody a little gold Hallmark seal to go along with their cards, so when they close the envelope, they've got that extra touch. Also, you can become a Gold Crown member. You get a little card and every time you come in and buy any type of purchase in our store, we scan it and you eventually get points for that. You might get a coupon in the mail for a $2 gift certificate or a $5 gift certificate to go toward your next selection."
   Isbell's goal is for the store to be successful. "In order to do that, I would like for everyone who walks through the door to feel like they are welcomed and that their needs have been met, just to provide a service for people," she said.
   The business was originally started in Johnson City as a bookstore, Zimmerman's, later expanding into Hallmark. The business was owned by Isbell's father, Sam Daniels, and her uncle, Norman Torbett. "I worked here growing up and, over the years Zimmerman's grew, and there were several stores," Isbell said. "We decided to purchase this Elizabethton store."
   Jacklyn's Hallmark, 772 W. Elk Ave., is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday from 12-5 p.m. For more information, call 542-5111.