KC Made: How Hallmark planted roots for a global operation in Kansas City

From holiday cards to family entertainment, Hallmark has created an empire around the joys of living + loving. Let’s dive into the history behind the business in Kansas City, plus the innovations it brings to the table in the present day.

Hallmark Cards KCMO KCtoday

The home of Hallmark — right here in KCMO.

Photo via KC Public Library

Table of Contents

What started as two shoe boxes of postcards and a dream eventually evolved into Hallmark Cards, Inc. as we know it. From building a brand in the early 1900’s to expanding the business portfolio through the 21st century, this is the story of Hallmark’s entertainment empire + its origins to Kansas City.

Fast facts

  • Founded in 1910
  • Headquarters located at 2501 McGee St., KCMO for 66 years
  • Employs ~27,000 worldwide with ~250 at the Kansas City headquarters
  • ~$3.5 billion in yearly revenue
  • America’s Best Employers 2020/2021 by Forbes/Statista
Printing Press Hallmark KCtoday

A literal inside look at an original Hallmark printing press.

Photo via KC Public Library

Look back to 1910

Joyce Clyde Hall set foot on Kansas City soil with a box full of handmade postcards and a heart full of entrepreneurial spirit. Joyce’s picture postcards quickly became popular and his brother, Rollie, decided to come on board — making their first official name Hall Brothers. Flash forward to 1915, the brothers experience a tragic fire and a decline in postcard popularity. Despite their financial situation, they purchased a printing press and began selling greeting cards.

The brothers are also known for creating the first modern gift wrap in 1917 after resorting to decorated French envelope linings during peak Christmas season. Shortly after in the 1920s, the business officially took on the name Hallmark — a term used by goldsmiths as a mark of quality.

Joyce Hall Kansas City mayor H. Roe Bartle

Joyce chatting with KC mayor H. Roe Bartle.

Photo via KC Public Library

Putting down KC roots

Joyce and his son, Don Hall, introduced the idea for development of Crown Center on the land surrounding Hallmark’s headquarters. This project turned a once unused part of KC into the retail, office, and entertainment space that we now know.

Where we are today

In 2023, the Hallmark legacy goes far past greeting cards with productions like:

  • Hallmark Channel
  • Crayola
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries

From independent retail locations to new products like recordable storybooks + itty bittys® plushies, Hallmark continues to be at the forefront of the entertainment industry with KC as its foundation.

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