Entrepreneur Magazine Lists CardSmart® In Top-10 New Franchises In “Franchise 500;” CardSmart’s Petter Etholm Sees More Growth For National Chain

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CardSmart®, the national card and gift store franchise, said Entrepreneur Magazine listed CardSmart in its �Franchise 500®� and among the �Top 10 New Franchisees� in America. Petter Etholm, President, called CardSmart concept "right for today�s value conscious shoppers," and said CardSmart is 211 in �Franchise 500,� 75 in �Fastest-Growing Franchisees� and 9 in the �Top New Franchises� listings.

CardSmart®, the national card and gift store franchise, announced Entrepreneur Magazine listed CardSmart in the prestigious “Franchise 500®” and among the “Top 10 New Franchisees” in America.

In its first entry to the prestigious listing to Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Franchise 500,” CardSmart ranks 211, and importantly was named 75th among the “Fastest-Growing Franchisees” and 9th in the “Top New Franchises” list.

CardSmart, the franchisor and marketer of everyday half-price greeting cards, offers customers top quality cards and gifts at value pricing in beautiful shopping environments.

Petter Etholm, President of CardSmart Retail Corporation, said, “We are proud to be named among America’s Top 10 new franchise opportunities by Entrepreneur Magazine. CardSmart franchisees deserve the credit, which reflects their dedication and hard work to provide the best card and gift shopping experience for consumers. We expect to continue our strong growth pace in 2005.”

CardSmart, which has been expanding at a record pace, ended 2004 with 187 stores, up from 131 in two years ago, said Etholm.

CardSmart said that the Franchise Magazine listing of its performance can be viewed on the internet at http://www.entrepreneur.com and http://www.entrepreneur.com/franzone/listings/topnew.

Etholm, the entrepreneurial franchise executive, said, “The CardSmart concept is right for today’s value conscious shoppers who value high quality products at affordable prices. We are proud that our customer loyalty is the highest in the industry.”

CardSmart’s unsurpassed selection of 20,000 greeting cards sell at half the price printed on the back of each card. Located in shopping centers across America, CardSmart is a fast growing chain of franchised stores that cater to consumers’ gift and card needs. Created to compete with the pricey card and gift chains, CardSmart brings consumers everyday value in beautiful store settings.

Etholm said, “We feel the Entrepreneur Magazine recognition results from CardSmart franchisees focus on customer needs. We have a loyal and growing customer base, which we consider to be our strongest asset.”

Richard Carty, Vice President of Marketing, said, “CardSmart store managers are card and gift consultants, giving personal attention to customers. Also, through our ‘CardSmart Cares’ program, all of our stores are active members of their communities, supporting worthy causes.”

Frank Feely, Vice President of Franchise Development at CardSmart, said, “In the franchising industry, word is spreading that CardSmart’s low start up costs and fees, combined with extensive marketing, merchandising and management system support, gives CardSmart operators the tools they need to succeed in today’s highly competitive retail environment.”

Paul Beck, Vice President Real Estate, added, “We are always looking for great locations for CardSmart stores. The real estate community is aware of CardSmart’s success and is a very supportive of CardSmart franchisees, who often open additional stores in their local markets.”

CardSmart Retail Corporation, headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is a national chain of franchised and company-owned stores that offer consumers 50% off every card, every day. Featuring a full-line of 20,000 beautifully designed greeting cards, CardSmart’s value-oriented strategy has developed an expanding base of loyal and appreciative consumers. More information about CardSmart is available at CardSmart’s website, http://www.cardsmart.com.    (cs-31)

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Media Contact: Brian Dobson, DobsonPR, 203-894-9240, bd@dobsonpr.com

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