Greeting Cards With A Conscience

Carolyn Bean Publishing, probably the smallest publicly traded greeting-card company, is also unusual in another sense: It makes cards and stationery for such nonprofit organizations as the Sierra Club, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. One might think that such a company would have a tough time turning a profit.

Indeed, it did. But after three years of losses, Carolyn Bean Publishing became marginally profitable in the year ended Sept. 30, 1991, and last year, it posted earnings of $140,000, or 11 a share. One analyst figures the company will net 30 this year and 45 in 1994. Part of the projection stems from more chain stores agreeing to carry the cause-related cards, and the addition of another big client--the Humane Society of the U.S. The nation's largest animal-protection organization has licensed Carolyn Bean to produce and market cards and stationery carrying its name.

Carolyn Bean's cards, including the Sierra Club line of wildlife note cards, are now carried by 4,300 outlets, including Barnes & Noble Superstores, Natural Wonder Stores, Rizzoli Bookstores, and Perry Drug Stores, where they are being test-marketed. President Bruce Wilson is confident more outlets will carry the company's products as Carolyn Bean attracts more organizations.

Shares of Carolyn Bean, which is scheduled to change its name this summer to Healthy Planet Products, have been trading over-the-counter between 4 and 6 1/2 since September. Currently at 5 5/8, one major investor says the stock could double in a year.

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