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Retail Roundup: Melville stationery takes its bow in an era of e-cards

The Write Stuff, a card and gift store

The Write Stuff, a card and gift store at Melville Mall, has closed. Credit: Newsday/Tory N. Parrish

The Write Stuff has put away its pens and paper.

The card and gift store, which was at 888 Walt Whitman Rd./Rte. 110 in Melville Mall, closed at the end of September after nearly 40 years in the shopping center, said Donna Mears, who co-owned the business with her husband, James, and son, Matt.

James Mears bought the business in 2008, Donna Mears said.

Business had been tough in recent years, she said.

“I lost my shirt in this store. I lost everything,” said Donna Mears, 60, who has relocated with her husband from Melville to Florida for retirement.

Several factors made business challenging, including the store’s high rent and the closing of a Waldbaum’s supermarket in the shopping center in 2015, which significantly reduced the number of customers who were coming to the property, Donna Mears said.

The opening of high-end Italian grocer Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace in the former Waldbaum’s space in 2017 didn’t help, Donna Mears said.

Also, fewer consumers buying paper greeting cards contributed to The Write Stuff's struggles, she said.

Consumers are increasingly sending their well wishes for birthdays, Christmas and other occasions electronically through email, text messaging, social media and digital greeting cards, instead of using paper cards.

The number of paper greeting cards sent via first-class mail between 2010 and 2018 fell 35 percent to 1.9 billion, according to the U.S. Postal Service’s Household Diary Study.

In addition to selling discounted greeting cards, The Write Stuff sold gifts, such as coffee mugs, stuffed animals, jewelry and art.

The store operated in the Melville shopping center as Ali’s 50% Off Cards from 1981 until 2008, when James Mears bought it and renamed it The Write Stuff, Donna Mears said.  She and Matt Mears became co-owners in 2014.

The Write Stuff was one of the last family-owned card and gift businesses on the stretch of Route 110 from Amityville to Huntington, said Matt Mears, who relocated to Denver in 2018.

“I would like to say thank you for the years of continued support, not just as customers but as friends in the community.  And we hope that somebody comes along to continue supplying everybody with this type of product,” he said.

The Write Stuff shared a 250,000-square-foot strip of retail space with other tenants, including off-price department stores Macy’s Backstage and Marshalls, outdoor sports equipment seller Field & Stream and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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