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ARTISTIC GREETINGS TO ENTER PERSONALIZED BANK CHECK MARKET VIA THE MAIL

 ELMIRA, N.Y., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Artistic Greetings Incorporated (NASDAQ: ARTG) today announced plans to begin the manufacturing and marketing of personalized bank checks via the mail nationwide.
 The major expansion plan to enter the $3.5 billion check market means Artistic will compete head to head with the leading check printers in the industry. Currently there are just a handful of companies competing in the market, Artistic officials said. Stuart Komer, president and chairman, said the move marks Artistic's continuing commitment to expand its base of customers and products within the paper and personalization fields and enhance the return to its shareholders.
 The company said it will spend considerable monies to install state-of-the-art check processing equipment and systems at its headquarters in Elmira, N.Y.
 Forecasts from the company indicate Artistic's initial goal is to capture about one percent, or $35 million, of the market in sales over the next few years in the United States.
 Currently, only five to six percent, or around $200 million, of all checks printed are sold through the mail, the company said. Komer said the company should begin to see "rewards of this investment" from the new venture within nine to 12 months.
 Artistic said it will draw from its current customer base of more than eight million satisfied customers to sell the personalized checks in a array of styles, fonts, quantities, designs and colors. Most people who buy their checks from banks pay considerably more than they would pay if they purchased the checks via the mail, Komer said.
 American Greetings (NASDAQ: AGREA), which owns approximately 40 percent of the company and is the largest publicly traded greeting card company, is very pleased with the expansion. Artistic may call upon American Greetings' resources to create unique check styles and designs.
 The decision to enter the check business culminates several years of market research, company officials said. Last year, according to the Bank Association of America, 55 billion checks were sold, up 37 percent from 1980. The company said the average American uses more than 300 checks per year.
 Komer also said the check business is a "dovetail" fit into the company's other products. Most of the company's products involve personalized printed paper such as stationery, greeting cards and note pads.
 The company also sells and markets personalized products such as re-inkable stamps, address labels, Christmas and everyday greeting cards, stationery, pens, pencils, luggage tags and hundreds of gift items that feature personalization. The items are sold via newspapers, magazines and catalogs.
 -0- 4/28/93
 /CONTACT: Richard C. Bast, vice president finance, Artistic Greetings Incorporated, 607-737-5235, ext. 268/
 (ARTG AGREA)


CO: Artistic Greetings Incorporated ST: New York IN: HOU SU: PDT

AR -- CL026 -- 2235 04/28/93 16:11 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 28, 1993
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