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A greeting card opportunity that lets you deal your own hand.

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This story appears in the March 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A wild elephant can crush its enemies with a single footfall. Now that's a tremendously effective use of one foot of real estate. Likewise, placing a greeting card rack in one square foot of space, as recommended by franchisor Elephant House Inc., could make a large positive impact on your finances.

Since the early 1990s, this franchisor, the No. 1 greeting card distributor and the No. 371 overall franchise in Entrepreneur's 1999 Franchise 500? has had the exclusive rights from a British affiliate to publish, print and distribute various lines of high-quality greeting cards, postcards, envelopes and related items bearing the Elephant House and Original Poster Co. brand names. Elephant House franchisees are given the rights to distribute the products to merchants in individual territories through placement in freestanding display racks on a consigned basis. Merchants are attracted to the concept because they don't need to make any capital investments, the risk of not selling goods is borne by the franchisee, and the franchisee chooses the cards and stocks the racks. Elephant House franchisees like the concept because they're not required to maintain retail hours, pay expensive rents or work full time (unless they choose to). Instead, franchisees develop their own strategies on when to restock display racks and what products to purchase from the franchisor.

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