No signs of a slowing economy at card company

December 10, 2010 7:57:08 PM PST
Consumer confidence has reached a six-month high, and that bodes well for Bay Area retailers. It seems people are willing to spend more on the extras of the season.

One South Bay company is printing up and shipping out a lot of holiday cheer. Tiny Prints of Sunnyvale is getting a huge holiday boost. The company offers customized greeting cards and business is better than ever.

Ed Han, co-founder of Tiny Prints, says the company delivered 20 million holiday cards last year. This year he is projecting global holiday sales of $30 million to $35 million.

"Customers are sending more holiday cards than ever before, a least from our company, and that's a great gauge hopefully for how the economy is doing," said Han.

Han says customers are spending an average of $100 an order. To design and process all of those holiday greetings, Tiny Prints has doubled its staff, hiring an additional 200 employees -- people like Lynette Meeker.

"I've been recently laid off since July, so I've been here a week and it's been great and amazing," said Meeker.

It's certainly not scientific, but another gauge of consumer confidence and the holiday spirit can be found at Christmas tree lots. Even in a bad economy, trees are one tradition people don't seem willing to give up. This year, many are even paying a little extra.

"It's going to be flocked and all together it comes to $105," said tree customer Wallace Haugen.

ABC Tree Farms has 14 lots around the Bay Area which opened early this year on Thanksgiving Day. Sales have been brisk, and even the buzz of the chainsaw is a positive sound.

"They definitely have us make room under the tree, cut the branches for the presents under the tree," said ABC Tree Farms lot manager T.J. O'Brien. "I think things are getting better this year, actually."

At Tiny Prints, the upturn may mean some of those seasonal workers will celebrate the new year with a new full-time job.


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