KANSAS CITY, Mo. (September 25, 2002) — Hallmark Cards has licensed its exclusive Springbok® jigsaw puzzle designs and the Springbok brand to Allied Products, a new Kansas City marketing company owned by 51-year-old Allied Materials. The arrangement ensures that an ongoing supply of quality Springbok puzzles will be available to consumers nationwide.
A unique long-term licensing agreement will result in the potential for Allied Products to own Springbok Puzzles in the future. The agreement means that consumers and collectors will be able to purchase Springbok puzzles in stores that offer the Hallmark brand, according to Tom Kilcourse, Hallmark vice president, corporate development, who handled details of the agreement with Allied Products. Allied has purchased jigsaw puzzle-making and tooling from Hallmark.
“Our goal has been to craft a seamless hand-off so that the same excellent quality and efficiency that Hallmark brought to Springbok will continue,” Kilcourse said. “We believe that Allied Products is the best company to make that happen, and Allied already has the new fall Springbok catalog in retailers’ hands.”
Both Hallmark and Allied are headquartered in Kansas City, and two key Allied employees who worked on the Springbok agreement will be integral members of the Springbok operation, and formerly were with Hallmark. Both companies consider that having people familiar with Springbok product as well as Hallmark sales, systems and methods will benefit the new business operation under Allied management.
Steven Pack, president of Allied Materials, said Allied Products has been formed to manufacture and market Springbok puzzles and other consumer gift items.
Pack said Springbok is a perfect match for Allied’s expertise and area of interest. He said consumers not only will continue to see quality Springbok puzzles in the marketplace but also can look for new and exciting Springbok programs in the future, beginning in 2003, Springbok’s 40th anniversary year.
The Springbok deal reflects both Hallmark’s commitment to ensuring that consumers are able to purchase Springbok puzzles and Hallmark’s focus on its core businesses. Close cooperation between Hallmark and Allied sales, service and customer service organizations is resulting in a smooth transition, including a new line of Springbok puzzles on the market in plenty of time for the holiday season. Hallmark and Allied will share sales responsibilities during this transition year.
Hallmark purchased Springbok Puzzles in 1967 from owners who founded Springbok in 1963 in New York. Springbok popularized puzzles picturing fine art, and was the first to introduce circular puzzles. The Springbok brand is known and preferred for its interlocking puzzle pieces. The Springbok method of creating puzzle patterns was learned by Hallmark craftsmen who expanded the art created by Springbok originators, skills that are being passed on to Allied specialists.
Jigsaw puzzles were created in the 1700s when an early English mapmaker cut up a map of the world and had school children reassemble it. Puzzles were first manufactured in America in the 1850s and have continued to be a popular form of entertainment.