After 25 years of continued and popular service in Blue Springs, owner Audrey Leonard is retiring, stepping away from what’s been good to her.

Surely there must be a Hallmark card for specific situations like the one Audrey’s Hallmark Shop has found itself in.

After 25 years of continued and popular service in Blue Springs, owner Audrey Leonard is retiring, stepping away from what’s been good to her.

Her son, Dennis, could probably write the card better than anyone.

“Blue Springs has shown so much support for the business over the years,” he said Thursday, a few weeks before the store shuts its doors for good. “We’re not ending on a bad note. My mom just thinks it’s a good time to step away from it. It’s one of those things, she just wants to slip away into the sunset.”

What started in the White Oak Plaza and later moved to its current location at 609 U.S. 40, Audrey’s Hallmark Shop has been the destination not just for Hallmark cards but for gifts galore. During those 25 years, the Leonard family has seen the city change – from small, medium and, now, to large.

The family has seen the greeting card industry change, too.

“I’ve been involved with this store for the past 11 years,” he said, “and I guess I’m just from a different generation. I grew up with greeting cards.

“They certainly aren’t as popular as they used to be.”

Hallmark Cards Inc. hasn’t been spared during the recession. In 2009, the Kansas City-based company cut about 750 jobs, or as many as 250 in the Kansas City area. As many as 4,000 employees worked at the Kansas City headquarters during the height of the recession. Leonard understands that many customers might assume that’s why the family is stepping away, but that’s not it necessarily. The reason is more timing than anything else – and, yes, the changing culture.

That’s part of it.

“Maybe the greeting card has gone its course,” he said. “But we have had a good run in the city.”

There are rumors that another Hallmark store may open in the Adams Dairy Landing retail center, but Leonard hasn’t heard them. He and his family are focused on selling inventory during the next few weeks, offering significant savings (40 percent off) on most store items.

And saying goodbye, which is a Hallmark card all in itself.