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Greeting card designer finds niche in minority market

BY Diana Alickaj

WILLINGBORO, Pa. John Erving, a greeting card designer, has found success in his line of black-themed greeting cards that have made their way, according to published reports, into 50 CVS stores located in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Pemberton and Westhampton.

Erving started designing greeting cards 13 years ago, realizing through research that they were in high demand. After training himself in manufacturing these greeting cards, and from prior sales experience through his job in the greeting card industry, he created JonMar Creations.

Erving started Jon Mar Creations as a line of 32 greeting cards that were sold at Lomas Pharmacy in Willingboro, Pa., and a few additional Thriftway supermarkets. After CVS acquired Lomas, Erving persuaded the chain to keep his greeting cards, significantly expanding his business, and what began as 32 cards has today become 200 cards. The popularity caused Erving to hire merchandisers to make sure that the greeting cards are always available, and has also become a distributor for other black greeting card designers.

He now has help from such artists as Cal Massey of Moorestown and Ben Jefferson of Philadelphia to design his cards but still paints about half of them himself. His success has come as a surprise to him, he recently told a local publication. Occasionally, he’ll have one of his own cards delivered to him as a gift. “It’s a good feeling,” Erving said. “You know somebody’s out there buying them and it’s working.”

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Report says Tesco looking at expansion in Chicago

BY Doug Desjardins

CHICAGO Tesco is looking to roll out Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets in the Chicago area, according to a report in the Chicago Sun Times.

The newspaper attributed the report to a “knowledgeable source” and said Tesco could offer the Chicago area something “unique because of its strong offering of prepared foods, packaged perishables and selection of produce, meat and bakery.”

Tesco has not commented on the report and has said it plans to expand on the West Coast in 2008, opening stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. The chain opened its first store in December and plans to have up to 50 Fresh & Stores open by the end of February.

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Lubin promoted to Walgreens vp and new second position

BY DSN STAFF

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens today promoted Steven Lubin to divisional vice president and the new position of general manager of marketing for non-mainland operations. In his new role, Lubin will ensure the company’s marketing meets the needs of customers in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

As general manager of marketing for Puerto Rico, Lubin spent the past three years living on the island. He is relocating back to the company’s Deerfield, Ill., headquarters for his new duties.

“Steve was a huge asset in Puerto Rico as we worked to better meet the unique needs of our island customers,” said Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer Jeffrey Rein. “He also was invaluable as we opened our first Hawaii store last year, quickly grasping what Hawaiian customers want in a drug store and working with a Walgreens team to buy from many local vendors. Steve’s a big part of our early, strong success in Honolulu.”

Lubin joined the company in 1970 as a stock clerk in Chicago while attending college. He managed several Chicago-area stores before moving into Walgreens’ purchasing department in 1980. He was promoted to a divisional merchandise manager in 1988 and to general manager of marketing for Puerto Rico in 2004. 

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