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A Card-in-the-Yard: A Unique and Special Way to Surprise Someone Close to You

A Card-in-the-Yard
A Unique and Special Way to Surprise Someone Close to You
by Jennifer LB Leese

Most mornings, Darese Arch's workday begins by loading her minivan with four-foot plywood "cards" of flamingos, colorful balloons, and an adorable white stork - oh, and her two young boys.
"This [business] is perfect for me," she said with a smile. "I can take them [her sons] with me or if I'm going out early in the morning before my husband goes to work he can stay with the boys until I return."
Wanting to work and bring in an income but still be able to stay at home with her two boys, Darese and her husband explored the Internet for a business that enabled her to do just that. Their searching paid off when they found the Card-in-the-Yard franchise. She started Card-in-the-Yard of Washington County in September of 2007.
As owner of Card in-the Yard of Washington County, Arch installs giant personalized greeting cards on front lawns to celebrate occasion such as birthdays, anniversaries, new baby arrivals, and homecomings.
The Card-in-the-Yard franchise started in 1991 by Dawn Coolahan. Dawn started her rental card business from her kitchen table, which soon spilled over into the garage. With the desire to foster entrepreneurship in women, Dawn began to offer this opportunity to other moms with the same ideals and ambitions. The idea caught on.
The cards themselves are four-foot high with a two-foot high banner, making each card six-feet when put together. The yard, around the traffic-stopping card, is dotted with "props" - little signs on stakes, such as birthday packages, stars, graduation caps, baby bottles, or hearts.
These cards work wonderfully for surprising a new parent, welcoming back a friend from the service, congratulating a loved one on their milestone birthday, or for telling your significant other how much you love them.
Each card is lovingly put together; handwritten personalized text goes in the banner. There is no extra charge for personalization. "It's not about me," Darese said popping in a movie for her boys, "It's about what they want."
Not too long ago, an oversized pink ribbon hung from front doors or a simple pink bow swayed in the breeze from a mailbox at the end of the driveway was enough to announce the arrival of a baby girl. Not today, today we can drive neighborhoods and see massive towering plywood storks strategically placed in front of a house, put there by a loving family member, friend, or neighbor broadcasting the new baby's name, birth weight, and length.
It's in our nature to try and give our loved ones something unique and special as a gift whenever the occasion calls for us to do so or just when we want to show them how much we appreciate them. Having these enormous cards displayed is a statement that shows publicly what is important to that particular family.
Houses all across the country send out signals of what they enjoy celebrating - decorative flags with dancing leprechauns, plastic flamingos, flags in all shapes and sizes adorned anywhere from cartoon characters to Rockwell paintings, or ten-foot inflatable figures of the Grinch, Santa, or even NFL linebackers.
There are many reasons of why someone may choose to decorate the front of their homes. For one, they have something to say. I believe it's in our character; it's our American culture that allows us to be expressive and to communicate who we are. Why else would we load up the back of our cars with political and/or funny bumper stickers or wear T-shirts with self-expressive messages on them?
For Darese wintertime has been pretty slow, but she stays optimistic and welcomes the day when the Card-in-the-Yard idea catches on. "I love it. Wish I could do it everyday," Darese said. She likes the idea that it only takes a few minutes to set up, and that she has the liberty of taking along her boys.
Darese holds all rights to the Card-in-the-Yard displays throughout Washington County. She meets bi-monthly with a group of women from counties surrounding Maryland to discuss business and to brainstorm on ideas. They often "borrow" banners and signs.
As her business grows, Darese will be adding new signs, but what she doesn't currently have, she can get. No order is too big and no order is unobtainable. Darese wants to please her customers; she is always willing to work with people on getting exactly what they want.
"People get so excited [seeing the cards in their yard]." Waking up to or coming home to a six-foot blue hippo congratulating you on your birthday or a bunch of colorful balloons and an assortment of multicolored packages scattered throughout your yard would definitely make you feel special.
These cards are $65/day (plus tax) and $10/day (plus tax) after that. Darese will work with you on how many days you'd like the card to remain.
Having a Card-in-the-Yard display is easy and is often available the day you call. No matter what the occasion, the gift of a Card in-the Yard will be remembered for years to come.
"It's all about them," Darese said. "It's all about making people happy and surprising them." With a starry-eyed gaze she said, "That's what I like best about it."
Contact Darese Arch at 301-745-3131 or visit or send her an email by writing

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