Halls (department store)
|Headquarters||Kansas City, Missouri, United States|
|Number of locations||2|
|Key people||Joyce C. Hall (Founder)|
|Products||apparel, cosmetics, jewelry, shoes, china, crystal, silver, housewares, greeting cards|
Halls is the department store division of Kansas City, Missouri-based Hallmark Cards, consisting of two specialty department store locations — one adjoining Hallmark corporate headquarters and downtown Kansas City in the city's Crown Center commercial complex, the other in the city's high-end Country Club Plaza shopping district. Each store carries a variety of premium-branded items in apparel, cosmetics, jewelry, shoes, and other product categories, in addition to greeting cards and gift items carrying the Hallmark brand. The two Halls stores are positioned at a price level comparable to larger luxury-oriented chains including Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus.
Hallmark founder Joyce C. Hall founded Halls in 1916, as a companion to his greeting card company which had begun three years earlier. The store evolved from a showcase in the lobby of downtown Kansas City's Gordon and Koppel Building. By 1916, Halls had moved its store to 11th Street along the city's fashionable "Petticoat Lane" with expanded offerings covering an array of high-quality gift items. Halls' move in 1950 to downtown's Grand Avenue further developed its local reputation as a premium specialty store, with more merchandise added.
Halls became part of the collection of stores at the city's high-profile Country Club Plaza in 1965, with a 55,000-square-foot store comprising a full city block in the shopping district. In addition to the store's merchandise selection, the structure was outfitted with elaborate building materials and accessories such as inlaid lapis lazuli floors and Baccarat crystal chandeliers, with details complementary to the district's overall Spanish and Moorish architectural styles.
The department store's location in Crown Center was conceived in 1973. It was part of the continued revitalization of downtown envisioned by J. C. Hall, associated with development surrounding Hallmark's corporate headquarters that had begun in earnest in 1967. Halls Crown Center replaced the original downtown Halls with a three-level, 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) store designed by Paul László. In 2011, both the first and second floor of Halls Crown Center were converted to an aquarium from Sea Life Centres and a Legoland Discovery Centre in a combined $30 million project. The displaced men's department and Hallmark Cards location were relocated to the Crown Center Shops while the women's department stayed in its original third floor location. 
The division in the present day notes J. C. Hall's mission for the store as a "unique shopping experience dedicated to the expression of personal style and the art of living well."
In June 2013, Halls announced plans to consolidate its two stores into a new, larger store in Crown Center. Halls president Kelly Cole said that it no longer made sense to operate two stores so close to one another. The existing Crown Center store is planned to close in February 2014, with the Plaza store closing in July or August of 2014. The new 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) store, opening in September 2014, will include all current Halls departments and a café. As a result of the consolidation, Halls is projected to eventually cut around 115 staff positions.
Products and services
Halls offers a variety of premium brands in ladies' and men's apparel, cosmetics, jewelry, and housewares, with select items available exclusively at one of the two stores. Halls Plaza houses The Jewel Room, featuring creations by jewelry designers such as Van Cleef & Arpels and Buccellati. Halls Crown Center includes the Halls Station model train shop — with an extensive line of brands including Lionel and Märklin — and adjoins The American Restaurant — an award-winning fine dining restaurant with the only Mobil Four-Star ranking in Kansas City, also developed by J.C. Hall with his son Donald.
Bridal registry, corporate gift services, and custom tailoring are offered at both stores, along with in-store Hallmark Gold Crown shops. The stores are also long-time sponsors of several area humanitarian organizations, serving health care, fine arts, public broadcasting and other interests around greater Kansas City.
- Klaus, Krista (Thursday, June 16, 2011). "Crews prep Halls Crown Center for aquarium, Legoland attraction". Kansas City Business Journal. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- Smith, Joyce; Unglesbee, Ben (June 4, 2013). "Halls' Crown Center department store to grow, Plaza location to close". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved July 28, 2013.