The Start of the Top African American Gift Shop
Inspired by his dedication to God and deep commitment to family, Gregory Perkins began African American Expressions in a small shop in Sacramento, California in 1991. Having no formal education beyond a high school diploma, Perkins lovingly refers to the B.A. he received when he became “Born Again”.
African American Expressions, now the largest black-owned greeting card company in America, began as a single product company selling ethnically sensitive Christmas cards in three designs. Perkins' persistence was fueled by his childhood experiences watching his father run the family restaurant and nightclub business in Niagara Falls, New York. Today, African American Expressions sells over 2,500,000 cards annually with over 500 original designs. This multimillion dollar operation has expanded to include many other inspirational gifts such as calendars, handcrafted figurines, journals, mugs, magnets, bookmarks, Christmas decorations and more.
The company rapidly expands its market share through the distribution channels of thousands of retailers and wholesalers throughout the country and around the world.
Perkins has been the keynote speaker at the Book Expo of America for the African American Booksellers using his inspirational style and sharing his experience and knowledge in “Increasing Your Bottom Line”. Wells Fargo Bank recently awarded him the New Vista Award, which honors Sacramento’s most successful small businesses.
In his speech, he freely referred to “Jesus as the reason for the success of my business”. He proudly stated that, “It is my intention to be about my Father’s business.” Additional awards include Best Booth Design from the Christian Booksellers Association; also a finalist in the Louis Awards for Best Kwanzaa Design. In 2000, Perkins became the recipient of the IBBMEC Manufacturer of the Year Award.
Awards We’ve Won
2011 MLK Difference Maker Award
2010 Outstanding Community Service Award from Hosea Feed the Hungry
2009 Book Expo Trailblazer Award
2007 Sacramento Community Service Award
2003 New Vista Award-Wells Fargo/The Observer Media Group
2002 Best Booth at IBBMEC
2001 Winners of Best Booth at CBA
2000 Winners of the Manufacturer of the Year Award at IBBMEC
1999 Louie Award Finalists
African American Expressions is committed to improving the quality of life of people in our community and around the world. It is our mission to make a positive impact as we work, not only to uplift and encourage mankind by sharing God’s Word, but also to be God’s hands and feet in the world.
AAE is pleased to partner with a number of charitable groups to assist women and children in crisis, the homeless and fatherless boys. A portion of the proceeds from sales go toward funding the vital services offered by organizations including the ones listed below.
To learn more about how you too can help, check out the links below:
Love Him Love Them
Hosea Feed The Hungry
Agape International Missions (AIM)