Papyrus, a staple of malls everywhere, is going bankrupt — closing 3 stores in San Diego

The Papyrus location in Westfield UTC shopping mall.
(Diana McCabe/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The stationary and greeting card business will be shuttering all of its brick-and-mortar shops nationwide


Papyrus, a retail shop best known for its trendy stationery supplies and greeting cards, is going out of business, shuttering hundreds of stores in North America, including three shops in San Diego.

Schurman Fine Paper, which owns the brand, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week in a Delaware court. The company is closing all 254 of its U.S. and Canada stores. More than 1,000 employees will be laid off.

The brand has been around since 1950 when it was just a wholesaler providing cards and stationery to other sellers. But in the 1970s, the brand put down physical roots in California, opening its first brick-and-mortar shop in Berkeley. The colorful store has been a staple in American shopping malls for years.

Here in San Diego, the three locations were all at malls and shopping centers: Fashion Valley mall, Westfield UTC mall and Del Mar Highlands Town Center.

Papyrus is the latest brick-and-mortar retail chain to bite the dust in a seemingly endless succession of closures. Sears, once an anchor tenant of shopping malls around the nation, is shuttering its Chula Vista store next month as part of a plan to close 96 Sears and Kmart locations in February. Regular mall tenant, Forever 21, also filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in recent months, with plans to close over 170 stores. And clothing brand Charlotte Russe went bankrupt in early 2019, shutting down all of its stores.

Like the other retail brands, Papyrus cited an overexpansion of stores and the downturn in brick-and-mortar shopping as its reasons for bankruptcy.

There might also be waning interest in the products themselves. CVS and Walmart have reduced store space for greeting cards in recent years, as more people send emails, texts or social media messages to express their sentiments.

Papyrus announced its closures on Facebook, where it thanked customers for their patronage. The company’s brand will live on, however. Papyrus sold its brand and related trademarks to greeting card giant American Greetings in 2009, as part of a restructuring effort during the recession. Papyrus products can still be bought through American Greetings.