Valentine's Day has often been accused of being a "Hallmark holiday," trumped up by retailers to encourage the sale of chocolates, flowers, and, of course, greeting cards. The derogatory term gets its name from the Kansas City, Mo.-based purveyor of paper products, and the Hall family—who have owned Hallmark since its inception 101 years ago—are hardly complaining. In 2010, Forbes listed the family's wealth at $1B, though the economic downturn and rise of electronic greeting cards has trimmed almost a billion from the $1.9B reported in 2007. Even if shoppers turn on the greeting card business entirely, the Halls will have plenty to fall back on, including at least $10M worth of real estate in the ritzy Kansas City suburb of Mission Hills. A drop in the bucket next to the family piggy bank. The Halls also had a major role in reviving the formerly blighted area surrounding Hallmark's downtown Kansas City headquarters, now known as Crown Center. After the jump, take a tour of the Hall family's many homes, and see what really happens “When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best."
Family patriarch Donald J. Hall, now 82, took over the business from his father in 1966, and soon after purchased the Crayola brand of crayons. Despite the expansion and increased wealth, Hall chose to stay close to the city where his father had started the business back in 1910. That's not to say he's been living too modestly. He currently resides in this 1989 contemporary measuring more than 9,000 square feet (above), while serving a chairman of board at Hallmark.
? Donald J. Hall, Jr., currently Hallmark's CEO, followed in his father's footsteps and served in many facets of the company before being promoted to his current position in 2002. Don Jr. has taken up residence in this 1930 brick mansion just around the corner from his father. Featuring five bedrooms and five baths, the home also boasts English gardens and a tennis court to work out that board room aggression.
? Second scion David Hall also serves in the family business, as president of Hallmark North America. Despite being the youngest child—or maybe because of it—David occupies the largest of the three Hall homes, 9,100-square-feet number two doors down from brother Don Jr. The six-bedroom Georgian has a pickup basketball court and massive swingset for the little ones. The massive Tudor mansion of jewelry store heir—and fellow Valentine's Day profiteer—Barnett Helzberg, who sold out to Berkshire Hathaway in 2004, looms just over the lot line.
· Donald Hall Family [Forbes]
· Donald Hall's House [Virtual Globetrotting]
· Donald J. Hall's House [Virtual Globetrotting]
· David Hall's House [Virtual Globetrotting]
· Barnett Helzberg's House [Virtual Globetrotting]
· Mission Hills, Kansas [Zillow]