CAMDENTON, Mo. — In the competitive greeting card industry, Among Friends is a grain of sand on a beach full of such giants as Hallmark Cards, American Greetings and Gibson Greetings.
But the alternative card company, formed two years ago by three women in this Lake of the Ozarks community in central Missouri, has set some lofty goals.
"People say, 'Oh, is your goal to have Hallmark buy you out?' I say, 'No, our goal is to buy Hallmark,' " Claudia Parrish said with a poker face. She quickly laughs at the thought of the tiny, anonymous firm gobbling up Hallmark, the industry leader, which reportedly notched $1.25 billion in card sales last year.
But Parrish and her partners, Roxie Kelly and Shelly Reeves-Smith, are serious about carving their own niche. Among Friends has expanded from selling a few cards in local shops to marketing a line of 36 all-occasion cards, gift tags, decorative bags and a card-organizing notebook in 48 states, Japan and England. The company is working to expand that line.