Business Q & A

Five questions with Scott Dwyer

Scott Dwyer is taking another run at the retail business.

Dwyer, 34, the former president of his family's business, Dwyer's Hallmark, recently opened Findz at Brittany Center.

The shop, which sells cards, gifts and women's accessories, is in the same location that once housed one of his parents' Hallmark stores.

Findz is a similar concept to the Nifty Fifty discount gift stores he had in Andover and Derby.

"I have changed the merchandise mix to appeal to more women shoppers," he said.

Dwyer's father, Harold, started Dwyer's Hallmark in 1982 with stores at Towne East Square and the Wichita Mall.

After Scott Dwyer graduated from the University of Kansas in 1999, he joined the family business as the manager of its new Andover store. He did that until 2001, when he took over as president of the company and ran its five stores.

But the economy and other factors took their toll on the Hallmark and Nifty Fifty stores, he said. The Andover Nifty Fifty closed last year. The Derby store and the family's remaining Hallmark stores closed this year.

Are you confident you can make this work?

"Retail is tough right now. There's a lot of competition. The Internet is a bigger and bigger presence. I'm giving it my best shot. That's all I can do.... I'm doing everything I can."

Why open a new store in this economy?

"I actually am finishing out my lease here from our Hallmark lease. It's not up until February. The other locations we had, I was finished on my leases.

"I would like to stay, just see how it goes. I guess in January or February I'll have to make a decision if we want to keep going or not.

"I took what I learned from Nifty Fifty and kind of applied it to this. I changed my merchandise a little bit. In our business, November and December is where you make all your money. I figured it would be a mistake to not finish the lease."

What lessons have you learned in your past experiences in the retail world?

"I've learned a lot in the 10 years I ran the business for my mom and dad. I learned more in those 10 years than I ever learned in college. I'm a believer in learning by doing."

Where did you come up with the name Findz?

"Actually, my sister (Karen) came up with it. So I have to give her credit for the idea."

If you weren't in the retail business, what would you be doing?

"I am an avid golfer, a scratch golfer. I've been playing golf my whole life. It's my favorite thing to do. I would love to do something (like) be a head pro. I love to help people with their game.

"Finance and accounting are my two favorite business areas. I thought about maybe going into banking or possibly going back to school and getting my CPA."