HALIFAX -- Greeting cards created by a Halifax-based company are now being offered at stores across the county, including several Sobeys locations.

It’s a big expansion for a small company and it comes at a time when greeting-card giant Carleton Cards is closing most of its stores.

Stefanie MacDonald started Paper Hearts in 2015, after she struggled to find a suitable wedding card for an LGBTQ+ wedding.

Paper Hearts now offers greeting cards for every occasion, including Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and every-day well wishes.

“For us, from the beginning, it’s been about making things that people like, making things that people feel like they can relate to, and, you know, that they can see a little bit of themselves in,” says MacDonald.

The designer and entrepreneur says she enjoys making people smile with her creative card collection.

“We’re not really traditional. It’s usually quite non-structured. I see something that I feel inspired to draw and then I come up with quirky puns or clever sayings to go with them.”

MacDonald started selling her cards at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Sundays in 2015. Now, her cards are in 200 stores across the country, including 18 Sobeys locations.

“Just over six months ago I spent some time looking at a flower department at Sobeys -- who it was that was buying flowers and cards -- and for me, I noticed such a wide range of demographics,” she says.

In an effort to offer a variety of cards to grocery-store customers, MacDonald invited other independent card designers to partner with her company and create the Paper Hearts Post Office.

It was a good opportunity for local artists, like Tabitha Smith, who wanted to break into the industry, but weren’t sure how.

“She was like, ‘I know what to do, I know exactly what to do. I can help you do that, and you can help me by creating cards that people will like, and we’ll just get them out there together,’ and I was like, ‘Wow, this is the perfect relationship!’” says Smith.

And while, nowadays, some people may prefer to share their feelings via text message or social media, MacDonald says there’s no better way to express yourself than by putting pen to paper.

“Thoughtfulness is timeless. If you receive something from someone who took a moment to write it down because they were thinking of you, that truly speaks to the human condition,” she says.

“We all feel like we belong. We all want to feel that connection, and I think that’s something that snail mail does beautifully.”

You can find her card rack in the flower department.