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This is Fred Ball, for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

E-cards are okay, I guess. You know the ones I'm talking about — the e-mail kind. But if you accidentally click delete they're gone forever. And if you send Mom an e-card for her birthday, how's she going to hang it on the fridge? And in a business setting, your customers can't set your e-mail thank-you card on their desk. The bottom line — there's something missing in an e-card. I think it's the card.

In recent years Conrad and Paula Bowen have made a successful business creating ink-on-paper greeting cards. They're not e-cards, but you can still find them on the Web at GreetingsFrom.Biz.

The roots of the Bowen enterprise reach back nearly 15 years. During a bridal fair, an acquaintance of the Bowens invited Paula to ZCMI to hand-paint greeting cards for the store's customers. Paula and her cards were a hit, but the problem was she couldn't hand-paint cards quickly enough. It wasn't until several years later that the Bowens were able to turn Paula's talent into a business — with the help of a digital printing press, of course. It's probably a good thing — for Paula's sake — that each card is no longer hand painted. At times the Bowens have produced as many as 20,000 cards a month. Many of their cards are on display at GreetingsFrom.Biz.

In my conversation with Conrad, he told me about the time he went out with his camera hoping to take pictures of Christmas scenes he planned to paint in watercolor and make into greeting cards. The photography turned out so well the Bowens decided to put the photos right on the cards. The idea worked and today the Bowens create cards with watercolor prints and photography of well-known Utah sites. I particularly enjoyed a photo of Bear Lake that Conrad showed me, one that captures the sparkle of its gorgeously blue water. Now if the card just came with a raspberry shake. ...

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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