Mrs. Grossman’s in Petaluma is moving its sticker business to Utah because of mounting expenses and the soaring cost of doing business in California, its president told loyal customers this week.
The business was founded in 1979 by Andrea Grossman in her Marin County home after she could not find any supplier who made red hearts to stick on gift wrap for Valentine’s Day presents. It has operated in Petaluma since 1995, and at one time, employed as many as 200.
Today, it has about a dozen workers amid challenging times blamed on the pandemic.
Jason Grossman, Andrea’s son and company president, wrote to customers in a Monday email informing them of the decision. Grossman said over the last two years Mrs. Grossman’s has had more difficulty in selling products to retailers while at the same time experienced an increase in direct-to-consumer orders as people ordered more online.
Grossman also added doing business in California is increasingly more difficult.
“We have also noted that our overhead in California is constantly increasing,” he wrote. That led to the company to relocate by the spring to Kanab, Utah, not far from Zion National Park.
In an interview with The Press Democrat, Grossman said his family owns the 55,000-square-foot building where the business operates, but is only using 25% of the space.
“I need to get out of the building and find another building to fit my needs. And there was no way I was going to do it in California,” he said.
The cost of doing business in the Golden State is more expensive, he said, bemoaning an environment that is over-regulated and overtaxed for small businesses.
“Utah is loving me to come in with open arms,” Grossman said.
At age 57, he added, he was looking forward to a slower pace in a town of about 5,000 surrounded by great outdoor opportunities.
The business was noted for its factory tours that it provided for local schoolchildren but that stopped in 2019 when it also closed its retail shop. In 2018, Mrs. Grossman’s sold its wine label division, Paragon Label, to Resource Label Group.
Grossman noted going online will make the business more sustainable as the company is doing more than half of its sales through digital orders in Asia. It also became harder to deal with such retail giants as Walmart and Target because those companies develop their own products to get higher margins, he said.
Smaller retailers the company relied upon also suffered during the pandemic. To reach the independent ones that still operate, Mrs. Grossman’s would need sales representatives in all 50 states, he said.
“It’s really hard to get your message to small retailers. And I love them. That’s how we made our business,” he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5233 or [email protected] On Twitter @BillSwindell.