Cards for Less owner Marty Levine said that people shopping on Amazon don’t get the special treatment that they could get in his shop in Garden City Park.
The shop started in 1962 in Garden City and has been in the Garden City Park Plaza off of Herricks Road since 1996. It was one of the first shops to sell cards at half price, Levine said.
“The cards are quality cards at half the price and the consumer really sees the difference. Where if you go to a full card shop you’re going to pay $8 for a card. You can get four cards at my store for that price,” he said. “The quality is there.”
Levine said that the store has a full line for every occasion, including weddings, birthdays, get wells and novelties. The wide selection has kept the store alive, he said, saying that one time a local Boy Scout’s father looking for a Scouting achievement card could only find it at Levine’s shop. Now, that troop shops exclusively at Cards for Less, Levine said.
“I made this shop a one-stop shop,” he said. “ I have gifts for any occasion.”
Customer service is imperative in keeping a local business alive and thriving, Levine said.
“We make them feel very, very at home here. I treat my customers like family,” Levine said. “They’ll agree because I know most of their names already.”
Levine said that the shop has several long-time customers, and his employees have been around a long time. He said that at big department stores customers will not get the same service.
“You’re not going to get the personal touch. There’s no personal touch,” Levine said. “We will take that person right to the rack and show them where something is.”
Levine, who is 65 years old, said that he does not plan on retiring anytime soon.
“I’ve been here for such a long time. I love coming here. It’s my passion and I can do this forever just talking to my customers and seeing them,” Levine said.
He did lament the fate of gift shops in the age of the internet.
“It’s not going to be good. Because with the internet and the young people, there’s always talking on the phone and they go ‘happy birthday’ and done,” Levine said. “I’m going to hold on as hard as I can.”
What’s fortunate for the store is that customers still like to read potential cards in person, Levine said.
“I believe that most people like to shop local. I think they like to shop in their community. I really do,” he said. “They get to know the store owner. If somebody wants something specific, I make it my business to get it for them.”