On the Road: Exploring Our Local Scrapbook Stores-paper & i in Marshall, MI & PRIZE GIVEAWAY

paper & i

Interview with Audrey Hoffman

1)  How many years have you been in business? How did your business get started?

Our store, paper & i, opened its doors on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 in a small historic city of Marshall.  Marshall is located in Michigan, so February is usually the worst winter weather and slowest retail month. But we decided it was the perfect time to open the doors to a happy and always inviting store? Besides, then there could be a reason to celebrate every February, for our store birthday!)

paper & i is literally a brick & mortar store with happy sayings all around the outside, leading you to a fun shopping experience.

paper & i is literally a brick & mortar store with happy sayings all around the outside, leading you to a fun shopping experience.

We have been open for a year and a half and owe all of our thanks to the continued support from customers, family, and the town we live in.  Many may wonder why this kind of store and why would the owner, Audrey Hoffman, take a long-term sabbatical from 33 years of being a Registered Nurse?  The answer is simple and always the same: to find a little more happiness, to give back happiness, and to continue stewardship in a totally different way.  It’s working!  I love going to work, ordering new items, creating, teaching, and meeting and greeting our customers every day. My small group of employees: our children Allyson and Connor, husband Greg, Judy Shedd and Susan Putnam all play a big role in “putting it all together”.  I might also add my husband continues to work elsewhere full-time, and our children are in college and high school with their own worlds. However, their support includes the endless verbal feedback, accounting and financial assistance, technology, window and store displays, along with ordering, stocking, creating, and assisting customers. All with a friendly and welcoming “small town” feel.

2) What makes your store unique?

Our store name is unique, yes it’s all lower case! We definitely have a mixed blend of items in our store.  Our 1,600 square foot store suits paper crafters of any type and our front end area includes greeting cards and unique gifts, stationery and journals, and wall décor.  Our customers enjoy both areas and they can frequently blend one product line with another.

The front area of our store has greeting cards and unique gifts.

The front area of our store has greeting cards and unique gifts.

For the paper crafter, we look for items not carried in the “big box” stores. We like to work with the smaller vendors who cater to us and then we can cater to and offer these products to our patrons.  Currently the biggest sellers are dies and embossing folders of interesting styles, as well as any coloring tools (gelatos are hot), embellishments and flourishes. We carry stamps and supplies with Prima dolls, which are currently a fun trend. Lawn Fawn is hot on its trail and we have just begun with Taylored Expressions and they are awesome!

Dies are a very common product sought out in our store.

Dies are a very common product sought out in our store.

As always everyone loves new and exciting, yet unseen double sided papers. Constant update of “fresh and new” papers and all products is a must.  We offer to special order for any of our customers and work to obtain the items very quickly.  We are also happy to ship anywhere and this is usually a big satisfier. Every day,  new product arrives and we put out something new in our store. Our customers have come to expect and love that.

Paper lovers will enjoy exploring our selections of papers, which is updated continuously.

Paper lovers will enjoy exploring our selections of papers, which is updated continuously.

We often receive new requests from our customers.  We never expected to have such interest in wedding invites and paper items for weddings.  This has challenged my personal creativity in a new and special way. Our customers both bring requests for supplies we haven’t heard of yet and new ideas, along with samples of their work.  You will see some occasionally on our Facebook page.  They love to share their creativity with someone who gets excited about it and we love that they share it!

Paper crafts love to explore the wide variety of products in our store.

Paper crafts love to explore the wide variety of products in our store.

3) Do you offer classes, crops, weekend retreats & other events?

We offer classes for the card maker: Technique Tuesday and then on Sundays for all day classes (such as Prima doll creations, Christmas card stacks). Calligraphy and Zen design are new classes.  We also offer create your own party/class as well as planned scrap days.  Our store is small but we always allow  paper crafters to use our space to craft during the store hours, if it is pre-planned.  Our business neighbors have a beautiful conference room which we are beginning to use this fall.  Another fun item is the random winter make it take it days (MITI) and these are also offered during special events.  Door prizes are a must at every event as well as participant feedback for what they want to see in the future.

We partner with our other retail neighbors in Marshall planning all kinds of events for our downtown shopping.  The newest is Girls Night Out on certain Thursdays.  The best way to find out about what is happening is by following us on Facebook, checking our website, or adding yourself to our e-mail list.  We also display and have flyers in our store and a box outside our store door for those walking by.  Pinterest is our newest place to showcase items from the store and creative works we love.  It is also our biggest technology challenge to keep up with.

Here’s a list of some upcoming events:

Zen Design Mandala Card

Learn how to do the popular doodle imagery using a mandala pattern. Class is $10.00 and bring your own pens or $18.00 for class and 3 pen set. Plan on attending Wednesday, November 12, at 4:00pm.

 Technique Tease

Create 2 seasonal or general use cards while learning at least two new techniques each month. Supplies, instruction, and two awesome cards/envelopes to take home. Cost is $10.00. Class is from 6:00pm-8:00pm.

  • Tuesday, October 21
  • Tuesday, November 18
  • No class in December, will resume on third Tuesday of the month in January 2015

Craft A-lot Day

Join us with any of your paper crafts for a day in November. You can bring scrapbooking, cards, or any other paper project. Enjoy visiting, sharing ideas as well as seasonal appetizers and refreshments. Includes door prizes and an opportunity to shop at paper & i for necessary supplies.

When:  Sunday, November 9

Time:    11:00am-6:00pm

Place:    Edward Jones-Jason Rapelje conference room, 424 E. Michigan Ave., Marshall

Cost:     $25.00 (Donation will be made for room cost and is given to Simon Peters family), pre-registration is required.

 Create a Class or Party

Class space is available for any event. Bridal showers, birthday for children or adult, etc. Prices and packages will vary. Please inquire.

4) How do you promote your store?

Our advertising can be found in Michigan Scrapbooker magazine, in local newspapers and extending into other surrounding communities. Store events and specials are announced this way and also via social media and Marshall Chamber of Commerce. We also distribute fliers to specified groups or activities, tie-ins with local events and the neighborhood garage sale weekend as well as August sidewalk sales. Our informal announcements are on our ever present outside easel. We love to tuck a freebie in the customer’s bag(s) and this puts a smile on their face in the store or when they arrive home.

Volunteerism and giving back to our community is very important too. Our initial focus was on whoever asked for a donation for their fundraisers or for medical needs. This is probably because of my long-term affinity to the health field (e.g. Fountain Clinic for under or uninsured community members). Now, we are expanding our horizons and currently working with the kids after school program at the library, growth and changes for our Farmer’s Market and city activities, or whatever else comes our way.

5) What is the biggest challenge that you face as an independent business owner?

Being an independent retailer has its usual share of challenges, such as long hours, wearing many hats, and financial worry, but it is all well worth it. This is my personal dream coming true and a wonderful bonus that our patrons love the store!  Each and every day is a fun day at paper & i. Our goal is always the customer. Everything else stops at the shop when they are here because nothing is more important than the customer.  We hope every visit is a happy and fun experience, easy and relaxing, and that our staff has been as helpful as possible. I am looking forward to the everyday changes and challenges, the long-term fun and progress, and I am thankful for this wonderful part of our life.

6) Contact information:

102 E. Michigan Ave, downtown Marshall, MI (minutes from I-69 and I-94)

Hours: M–Sat 10-5:30  ~    www.paperandi.com

Class preregistration:  269-781-8200  ~  Be sure to LIKE our Facebook page!


Gina Karas is a traditional scrapbooker with a passion for photography. She work full-time as a Sales Assistant in the construction industry, but spends her spare time crafting with her mom and crazy friends! “Scrapbooking keeps me sane!” she says. See her projects and posts about scrapping & crafting on her blog, California Scrappin’.


You could win this prize package!

You could win this prize package!

paper & i  has generously donated a prize package for one lucky winner!! Package includes: a greeting card, Lawn Fawn stamp & die, AND a $20 gift certificate.  To be eligible for the random drawing you must COMMENT below about which event listed in this post makes you want to visit paper & i. DEADLINE to enter: Thursday, October 23th, at noon!

BE SURE TO SIGN UP TO FOLLOW OUR BLOG! This way you won’t miss any of the future posts and contests coming soon. When you sign up we’ll send you a quick email with a short preview of the post to let you know something new is on the blog.

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Project ideas, new products, packing tips, and upcoming crops & PRIZE GIVEAEWAY!

Candice Small, Close To My Heart consultant, has some ideas and inspiration to share with you! First here are some Halloween projects to  enjoy.

Make-n-take for October's Monthly Crop

Make-n-take for October’s Monthly Crop

Halloween card made with the new CTMH Cricut cartridge.

Halloween card made with the new CTMH Cricut cartridge.

If you are planning further ahead to Christmas and winter, here are some cards made with the new CTMH Cricut cartridge.

Blog Contest Photos 007Blog Contest Photos 004

Blog Contest Photos 008

Like what you see?  Tell us below your favorite and you could win a prize!

Candice offers a wide variety of events, crops and retreats.  Here’s some of her tips for packing up for a crop:

1.    Consider sharing a Cricut w/ someone in your group – both bringing a mat, back-up blade, & cartridges.  Can apply to other tools also.

2.    Sort your photos ahead of time, so you’re organized & can pack less paper as you’ll have an idea of page ideas/themes needed.

3.    If you’re bothered by certain music &/or group noise, pack ear buds/headphones & bring your own music.

4.    Clothing should all be “layers” because it is impossible to have many people agree on room temperature! :)

5.    Bring an extension cord & crafting lamp, if you have one.

6.    Make a list a couple weeks ahead of time, then check it every few days to add & delete items.  Packing day will be fun & easy!

7.    Bring comfort items:  your own pillow for sleeping, favorite snacks & beverages, casual/comfy clothes, sleeping mask &/or ear plugs, etc.

8.    Organize scrapping items a week or two prior.  You’ll feel more productive & know what you have & where it is – especially if it’s been awhile since scrapping.

9.    Remember, a wise Scrapbooker would cram her clothes & necessities into a little backpack if it means 1 more tote of scrapping supplies will fit in the car!

10.  Don’t forget your camera!!!

Sample of prizes offered at Candice's weekend retreats!

Sample of prizes offered at Candice’s weekend retreats!

More info about upcoming retreat weekends is below. Remember to read all the way down to the end to see the contest info!  Candice can be reached at (231) 468-1747 or by email at candicescraps@gmail.com. Also, be sure to check out her Facebook page and website.

Scrapbook Weekends 2014 @ Scenic Hill Resort Best Western in Beulah


FALL WEEKENDS Fri., Oct. 24th – Sun., Oct. 26th & Fri., Nov. 7th – Sun., Nov. 9th

Fees:  Listed below & include hotel room + meals listed.

Cropping Room:  Opens @ noon on Friday & closes @ 3:00pm on Sunday – 24/7 Front Desk has key, so stay up late &/or start early!

Hotel Amenities:  Pool, hot tub, 2 queen beds in rooms, fitness room, salon & spa (massage, hair, nails, etc.), room check-in @ 3:00pm & check-out @ 11:00am.  Please call ahead for salon times and/or to schedule.

Prizes & Drawings:  Gift for attending, prize drawings, & Grand Prize drawing!

Products Available for Purchase:  A selection of products will be available for purchase during the weekend + orders can be shipped to your home (PRIZE PACKAGE for largest order!)

Make-n-Takes:  Will be announced that weekend & all are FREE!

Food & Beverage:  Fri. dinner, Sat. breakfast, lunch, & dinner, & Sun. breakfast included.  Water, coffee, pop, & chocolate in conference room.  Rooms do not have refrigerators, but we have one in the conference room if you want to bring your own beverages.

Close To My Heart Consultant Candice Small

Website:  https://www.ctmh.com/candicesmall           Facebook Business Page:  Candice’s Scrapbooking Michigan

Email:  candicescraps@gmail.com         Tel:  231-468-1747         Mail:  5502 West 28 ½ Rd.   Harrietta, MI  49638


 Email or call to register, final deadline 1 month prior w/ payment in full:

____      2 people per room $180.00 per person

____      3 people per room $170.00 per person

____      4 people per room $160.00 per person

____      1 person per room $280.00

**THURSDAY ADD-ON OPTION**:  hotel & conference room use starting @ 3pm on Thursday w/ start as early as you want on Friday morning in conference room + Fri. breakfast @ the hotel.  (April 24th or Oct. 23rd or Nov. 6th)

____  2 per room, add $60.00 per person to above fee

____  3 per room, add $50.00 per person to above fee

____  4 per room, add $40.00 per person to above fee

____  own room, add $120.00 to above fee


Someone has to win, why not you?

Someone has to win, why not you?

Would you like to win a Close To My Heart prize package?  All you need to do to be entered into the random drawing for the amazing package pictured here is COMMENT below with your favorite project that Candice shared above and tell us why you might like to attend one of Candice’s retreats!  One person will be chosen at random to win the prize package. DEADLINE to ENTER: Saturday, October 4th at noon.

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Scrapbooks Mega Meet, LLC acquires Great Scrapbook Events

The midwest’s largest scrapbook convention adds other popular
Michigan events to its lineup.
Madison Heights, MI – September 29, 2014 – Scrapbooks Mega Meet, LLC – producers of the
Great Lakes Mega Meet Scrapbook Convention, held each May at the Suburban Collection
Showplace in Novi, Michigan – has announced today that it has acquired Great Scrapbook
Family owned Great Scrapbook Events is based in Fenton, MI, and is best known for the fall
Scrapbooking & Stamping Show at Birch Run Expo Center – often referred to as “Deer Widows
Weekend” and for their popular Arctic Blast retreat at Waldenwoods Resort each winter.
Additional scrapbook weekend events have been offered in Gaylord, MI and Port Huron, MI over
the years.
“We are excited to bring all these wonderful Michigan scrapbook events under one umbrella!”
said Kate Griswold, Scrapbooks Mega Meet, LLC owner. “We look forward to welcoming guests
new and old to these fantastic events!”
We are thrilled that Scrapbooks Mega Meet will continue our mission in providing opportunities for
business owners and an excellent shopping and cropping experience for paper crafting
enthusiasts. We wish all the best to our customers and Scrapbooks Mega Meet” as quoted from
the Great! Scrapbook Events Management Team
The Scrapbook and Stamping Show at Birch Run will take place November 6-8, 2014, and space
is available still for both vendors and croppers! This year’s event will move forward without any
major changes. Contact Scrapbooks Mega Meet, LLC by emailing info@megameet.com, for
more information, or visit www.megameet.com.
Friend Mega Meet on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @MegaMeet for the latest information
about classes, registration and events!

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