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Sign of the times: Card My Yard booms during pandemic in Lincoln
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Sign of the times: Card My Yard booms during pandemic in Lincoln

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Card My Yard

Sarah Sasse-Kildow, owner of the local franchise of Card My Yard, gets help with the business from her kids Carson Kildow, 13, and Lila Kildow, 10.

Sarah Sasse-Kildow was looking forward to things slowing down a bit and spending more time with her kids.

The former All-American golfer at Nebraska left her job with the Nebraska Bankers Association and took a part-time gig doing marketing for a local golf course.

She also decided to buy a franchise business from a friend to provide some additional income.

Sasse-Kildow took over the local franchise of Card My Yard, a business that puts giant greeting card signs celebrating birthdays and other milestones in people's yards, at the beginning of March.

After a couple of weeks in business, she said she had installed four signs.

But then COVID-19 started showing up in Lincoln, businesses shut down and people were told to stay home as much as possible and limit gatherings.

That meant birthday parties, graduations, weddings and other celebrations were canceled, which left people looking for other ways to mark milestones -- maybe with, say, a big sign in the yard.

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"Things have been full speed ahead since about March 15," Sasse-Kildow said. "It's been a little hectic, to say the least."

She said she's been "maxing out somewhere between eight and nine events a day," which has meant a lot of 10-hour days.

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Sasse-Kildow said she's still turning down four or five requests every day.

Much of that has to do with not having enough inventory, which she said takes her about two to three weeks to get. But,  she says, "Even if I had a lot more inventory, I'm not sure how much more I could do."

Sasse-Kildow has chosen not to hire part-time help because she doesn't know how long the boom in business will last, and she may not be able to keep employees once things return to normal.

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In the meantime, her husband and kids have been helping her.

Sasse-Kildow spends her days taking orders and putting sign displays together. She installs the signs at night so people can be surprised in the light of day. On her website, she calls her son and daughter her "sign fairy helpers."

Card My Yard was started by two women in Austin, Texas, in 2014 and now has about 150 franchises across the country.

Even though it's been more work than she expected, Sasse-Kildow said it's been a lot of fun, too.

She said that with all the negative news and unknowns that have come along with the pandemic, the number of people using Card My Yard has shown, "there's good things coming from this."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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