Once a staple of birthdays and holidays, paper greeting cards are fewer and farther between — now seen as something special, instead of something that’s required. The cultural shift is a worrisome challenge for the nation’s top card maker, Hallmark Cards Inc., which last week announced it will close a Kansas plant that made one-third of its greeting cards. In consolidating its Kansas operations, Kansas City-based Hallmark plans to shed 300 jobs. Pete Burney, Hallmark’s senior vice president who oversees production, said that ‘‘competition in our industry is indeed formidable’’ and ‘‘consumers do have more ways to connect digitally and online and through social media.’’
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