Owner store

Nugent’s Hallmark store closing

March 8 – TRAVERSE CITY – When the Maxwell family bought the Hallmark store from Nugent in 2004, there were four other dedicated Hallmark stores in town where shoppers could find the brand’s products.

At the end of May, there will be no more.

Nugent’s Hallmark store in the Grand Traverse Commerce Center will remain open until at least Mother’s Day, May 8. West, will likely close mid to late May.

“It’s been around for over 30 years,” said Tom Maxwell, speaking on behalf of the family business, which includes parents Joe and Cathy Maxwell. “It’s kind of the end of an era.”

The Maxwell family has a letter, dated February 15, posted on the front door of the store and another at the checkout, addressed to “Dear Customer.”

“It is with great sadness that we must announce that after nearly two decades of ownership, Nugent’s Hallmark will be closing its doors,” the letter reads.

“This decision was not taken lightly, but we believe it is most needed. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal and dedicated customers. You are the reason we have remained the last Hallmark standing in this field, where there once (were) five. Your passion for the Hallmark brand is unparalleled, and we sincerely appreciate your commitment to Nugent’s over the years.

There are Hallmark stores in three other northern Michigan locations — Kelly’s in Petoskey, Helen’s in Gaylord, and Kellie’s Manistee — under different owners. Tom Maxwell said his family owned five in its heyday, but it would only be Cathy’s Hallmark in Oscoda when the Traverse City store closed for good.

Diane and Gil Nugent owned the original Nugent’s Hallmark, which was in the parking lot of the Traverse City Meijer store. Tom Maxwell said his family bought the store from Dick and Janice Butler after owning it for about a dozen years.

“Back then, you couldn’t get Hallmark products at the big box stores,” Maxwell said.

Tom Maxwell said the ability to get Hallmark merchandise at other stores was one of the factors behind the slowdown. He said increasing online sales was another element.

Perhaps the most important factor was finding enough workers in a competitive Traverse City market. Tom Maxwell said that was a concern before the COVID-19 pandemic – and has been exacerbated by it.

Tom Maxwell said Nugent’s Hallmark had a “Help Wanted” signing for the whole of 2021 and had four applicants during the year. He said one of the candidates they interviewed had been offered a position, but had already accepted another job elsewhere.

“It’s a whole bunch of things all coming together at the same time,” said Tom Maxwell.

Tom Maxwell said Nugent’s Hallmark store had a wonderful two-decade working relationship with owner and realtor Jim Schmuckal. He also praised the store’s assistant manager, Renee Baker, for being the contact person for the Maxwell family in Traverse City.

“Our incredible staff here have been instrumental in the success of Nugent and its dedicated customer base over the years,” the letter reads. “We know they have served you well and have remained dedicated, enthusiastic and an integral part of the business day in and day out.”

Everything in the store is now 10% off, with select seasonal products being offered for 50% off.

“It’s going to go up from there,” Baker said of the discounts.

Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.