Greeting card niche has kept family business going

D and D Cards in Grafton has survived competition from larger retailers thanks to a loyal following

D AND D CARDS AND GIFTS manager Nikki Schaefer, who stood in the aisle of the shop at 1007 Washington Ave. in Grafton, has been working in the family owned shop most of her life. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
CONNOR CARYNSKI
Ozaukee Press Staff

D and D Cards and Gifts in Grafton has provided an eclectic assortment of cards and gift items in Grafton for nearly 40 years. While many cards shops and have come and gone, the family owned and operated business attributes its longevity to quality customer service and a rotating selection.

The store at 1007 Washington Ave. sells cards for any occasion, whether it be joyous or mournful, and a variety of gifts for all ages.  

Manager and granddaughter of D and D’s founder, Nikki Schaefer, said the business started in 1984 in the former Manchester Mall, where Pick ‘n Save is currently located. The store operated out of the space for until moving to its current location in 2008.

Schaefer said the store started out selling primarily cards and collectible gifts but has expanded its offerings over the years to religious gifts, books, lotions, lottery tickets, chocolates, knick-knacks and canned preserves.

Schaefer said she has worked in the store for most of her life and has always enjoyed connecting with local families who have visited the store for generations. She said the store has sold baptism gifts for some customers who are now purchasing baptism gifts for new family members of their own.

“We’ve been around a long time,” Schaefer said. “We really have fabulous customers. They are so supportive and so loyal. We really get an opportunity to serve people and meet their needs from well before life to after death.”

 With many card stores falling by the wayside as big-box stores offer card and gift selections, Schaefer said D and D has remained viable because of its dedication to customer service. It is important that she and other workers take the time to meet with customers, consider their needs and help find the best item for them. She said it is that attention to customers that has allowed the store to become so connected to many families who visit it.

“It’s really nice to connect, to hear the stories and to know the families,” Schaefer said.

D and D also differs from big-box store card selections in its large offering of items and cards, Schaefer said.

While the shop specializes in cards with specialty captions that are difficult to find elsewhere, D and D also carries conventional cards at any price point, she said.

“We have a nice mix. You can always get what you need,” she said.

Schaefer said she is also always looking to bring new items into the shop that will keep its offerings up to date.

Through the years, D and D has sold popular gifts like Beanie Babies, Webkinz and fidget spinners.

“There are so many different fun items,” Schaefer said. “Every corner has something different.”

As with many businesses, the pandemic was difficult for D and D, but Schaefer said customers offered their support by making curbside orders and checking in on the business.

“They were very supportive. The community really helped,” Schaefer said.

Just two years from celebrating the business’s 40-year milestone, Schaefer said, she plans to continue operating the business much as it has been run through the decades. She will, however, continue to hunt for quality products that support small businesses in the United States.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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