BOYNTON BEACH, FL – Elaine’s Hallmark store, owned by Greek-American Elaine Christos, is celebrating a quarter of a century in business in Boynton Beach and continues to thrive even in the digital age when Facebook birthday posts and text messages have somewhat replaced greeting cards.
Elaine’s is located in the Boynton Mall and offers not only greeting cards, but gift items as well, and something priceless, “treating guests like family,” the Palm Beach Post (PBP) reported.
When asked what the secret of the store’s success is, Elaine Christos told PBP, “We have cards for almost any occasion possible. We also have personal care items. We sell salt scrubs, bath balms, shower balms, soaps, we have a cologne line called Inis that’s made in Ireland. It’s very popular with our customers. I should say, ‘Our Hallmark family’. I mean that’s how we feel after all these years.”
Items for babies, wedding gifts, and of course, the popular Hallmark keepsake ornaments, are also available at the store.
“Keepsake ornaments are a huge department for us, for half of the year. People come in for all occasions. From baby’s first Christmas to Star War interactive ornaments, first Christmas together as newly married people,” Christos told PBP, adding that “we have an engraving section, so, people can come and get gifts personalized. We can add a charm to them. It’s very warm. Very genuine. This is what we’re communicating in our store. We’re trying to make a personal connection.”
Christos and her parents opened the store in a strip mall in 1994 before moving to the Boynton Mall location eight years ago, PBP reported.
“My dad was in the office and he would come and help at night,” Christos told PBP. “Sweep outside. Be a big support for me that way. Our mom would stay with me all day. In the beginning years I would rest in the back room, you just put in a lot of hours to get it all situated. Figure out what’s working and what’s not working. Our mom was with us for about eight to 10 years in the store.”
Of the store’s longevity, she told PBP, “I think it has many prongs, like a wheel. First of all, we’re Greek, we come from Greek heritage and we love people. Our parents were very instrumental in this. We really genuinely care and like people.
“So, what happens is over the years, you get to know people, you get to know their sorrows, their joys, their trips, where they go, and it really is family. So, its family members coming in, then you have new family members that you meet. You see somebody and it really is like entering into our extended home. We really feel that way, it’s not a cliche. So, that’s one part of the prong.
“Another part of course is your location. Even though Boynton Beach Mall is going through a transition it’s a very neighborhood mall. We all help one another. All the retailers, we know many of them here. So, we send people to this retailer for that reason. Or that place for this reason. And they send people to us.”
Boynton resident Janice Verneha told PBP, “I love the owner. I think she is one of the nicest people. She’s so lovely. She always greets you so nicely and she’s very helpful.”
The store continues as a family business with owner Elaine Christos’ brother Thomas Christos managing the location in the mall, PBP reported, adding that sister Catherine Christos now manages the Delray Medical Center’s gift store after the family was approached to operate the store.
?[The business] is something that’s always a work in progress. We all respect each other. It’s really a family business,” Christou told PBP.