LAWRENCE, Kan. — While most Americans are thinking about beach trips and vacations in the summer months, General Manager LaDonna Echols and the people who work in Hallmark’s Lawrence Production Center have Christmas on the brain.
“It’s actually pretty cool because you get to celebrate Christmas twice,” Echols said.
It doesn’t take long for large white sheets of paper to start carrying the colors of Christmas in her 650,000 square foot facility kept humming by more than 800 employees, called “Hallmarkers.”
They’re printed, stamped, and lasered into the cards we eventually purchase by a group of people who share messages not with a pen, but by creating a well-placed holiday-themed car or Christmas tree.
“We know that we’re going to help someone say,’ Merry Christmas, Grandma,’ or, ‘Happy Birthday, Grandma,” Echols said.
It’s an assembly line that even Santa’s elves would be proud to work on where Hallmark turns out millions of cards and more than 2,000 different designs for every holiday season.
“Our mission is to get more caring and more meaning out into the world and so on that side of the fence, it’s like, ‘Lets make more cards,” Echols said.
It means seven of every ten cards that leaves the Lawrence facility in the summer months is a Christmas card. The job is done by the end of August, giving the company plenty of time to get the cards across North America by the fall.
“There’s an emotional kind of thing that happens where, you go, “Hey, I put my stamp on that,’ or, ‘I helped to make that happen,” Echols said.
It’s a speedy process on the production floor that is designed to minimalize wasted product or time all to create special moments and memories that can linger for a lifetime.
“When you do that, it makes you feel good and it’s contagious after a while,” Echols said.
The facility said its diverts 12.5 million pounds of waste from the landfill every year, which is about 97% of the waste it produces in the first place. Most of that is 10.3 million pounds of paper that get recycled through the card cutting process.
Locally, the plant is taking part in the “Christmas in July” food drive, helping raise money for Harvesters. The Lawrence plant is on pace to donate a record number of non-perisable food items to the Douglas County food bank, Just Food.