Not too many people can say they started a business at 16 and continued on to many other business ventures before the age of 25. Doug Mayol, The Cardologist store owner is one of those few.
The Cardologist is a quaint storefront on the 600 block of East Adams Street in downtown Springfield. You can’t miss it, the building is bright green and turquoise with a giant “open” flag that guides you towards the front entrance.
Inside is an eclectic assortment of cards from “Happy Birthday” to “Get Well Soon.” The store is also wall-to-wall with a wide variety of socks. They range anywhere from this year’s presidential nominees, to the Route 66 Mother Road theme, which are covered with images of vintage cars.
I arrived at The Cardologist store during my lunch hour and was greeted by Doug. He was tall, blonde and handsome. He wore a light pink button up shirt tucked into a pair of washed out straight leg Levi’s, trendy leather sneakers and a preppy pair of tortoiseshell glasses t
hat sat on the bridge of his nose- you’d never guess he was over sixty, the guy had style!
Doug was already prepared for our interview with a large cup of coffee in his hand. He walked me to the back of the store which has an arrangement of chairs surrounding a stage, and some small tables and chairs just like the ones you would see in a quaint little coffee shop.
Doug flipped through an old maroon album with memories pasted from page to page. He still looked just as good as the boy in the pictures.
The Early Years
Doug grew up on Lowell Avenue in Hawthorne Hill in Springfield, Illinois where everyone was family.
“Everybody knew everybody and everyone’s mom was your mom, too. They could discipline you and they could put you to work,” he laughed. He continued flipping through his album.
“This was my first rent receipt, for $50” he said. It didn’t seem like $50 was a realistic number at all considering rent these days!
“You know, my very first business was dancing door to door,” he started. As a preteen, Doug would go door to door with his record player and dance for his neighbors. “Once the record was up I’d collect my nickel and go on to the next door.”
He even had a cane that looked like a candy cane and he wore a Styrofoam hat. This was all part of the act.
“I also had Kool Aid stands and my very own carnival … I was always into silly little businesses,” he continued. Doug always had a passion for starting a business.
He’d see vacant buildings and think about what a great store each building would make. He was sixteen when he eventually opened his very first store. He called it “By Hand.”
Doug saved up all of his allowance, which was $5 a week. Once he’d earned enough to make the first rent payment, he was officially a business owner.
Doug’s parents were always gung- ho on him starting his own business, especially his mother. “My mother always wanted to be a dress designer, and have a dress shop. But her mother wanted her to be a teacher and she never got to follow her dreams, so she got to live her dream through my store,” he said.
“By Hand” was a very small building without any plumbing, but it was one of Doug’s most exciting times in his life. He had done this all on his own. He sold art and craftwork, both his own and by other area artists.
The Dream Store
Doug’s business ventures didn’t end there. He changed the name of his store to “Goods by Hand,” and reopened downtown. He owned a plant store called “Tumbleweed” and at last opened his dream store called “Present Company Gift Emporium.” Doug later opened a Present Company store at the Tantara Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks when he was just twenty-two.
His family used to vacation at the Lake of the Ozarks all the time and he fell in love with it. “I just thought it was the coolest place … it was just beautiful there,” he said. It was a no brainer that he would eventually open a store there.
Doug realized that opening a store at a fancy resort and having to follow resort policies such as daunting store hours, was taking all of the fun out of it. “When you’re on vacation it seems like a fun place to live but in reality what happens, even as much as I enjoyed my time there, everyone is having fun but you are working 16 hour days,” he said.
In between Doug’s successful business ventures, he opened a store called Hippopotamus where he sold handmade jewelry, and he also ran a couple of shopping centers. Doug was certainly living out his dream.
He was a renaissance man with many different talents. Doug was a silversmith and made his own jewelry and candles. He also drew ads for his stores as well as others.
You would expect someone that was as busy as Doug to get burned out quickly. He had opened so many news stores and had some bit of success with each one of them that you’d wonder why he wouldn’t retire early.
Owning a business was not easy, especially when there wasn’t a lot of money and you were the sole owner of the store.
“You’re the janitor, you’re the accountant, you’re the display person, you’re the buyer, you’re the manager. There are a lot of different hats to wear,” he said.
Doug was never the type of person who started businesses purely for profit. He started businesses because it was fun for him, it made him happy. He didn’t need all the extra bells and whistles.
“I guess my story would be more interesting if I was some major retail giant, if I was the starter of Amazon. I’m just not motivated that way. Like I said, it’s always been about having fun, making money has never been the primary goal for me,” he said.
Throughout Doug’s journey as a business owner he went through the highs and lows that came with owning any business. Sometimes rent was expensive, sometimes buildings were sold and he had to venture elsewhere, and sometimes he was just a little hungrier for something more.
The Evolution of The Card*ologist
The latest business venture Doug started is called The Cardologist. Like most of his stores, it has the same sort of theme, with different varieties of stationery, gifts, candles and jewelry. The Cardologist also focuses on different greeting cards and stationery in particular. He later added socks and other gifts to his store.
Doug moved The Cardologist three times before finally settling in at his current location on East Adams Street in downtown Springfield. His first location was short lived and his second was a smaller building with which he had a love hate relationship. “I just felt trapped, and I was kicking the same rock around,” he said.
Doug was forced to move out of the second location because the owner of the building wanted someone to buy the space as opposed to renting it. Doug was not prepared to buy a space that he didn’t love.
The Cardologist seemed as though it was at the end of its road because Doug had great difficulty in finding a new location. He
wasn’t entirely committed to staying downtown. He had moved so many times and was ready to settle down. “I don’t think that I can move again, the last move really took a lot out of me,” he said.
Now that he has owned The Cardologist for a grand total of 28 years he was ready for something new. Doug’s new store has plenty of room for all of his merchandise. Not only is it a store but it doubles as an event space.
Doug plans on using the extra space in the back of his store for live music and e
vents involving customers and friends alike. The possibilities are endless. His new space is multi-functional, and he gets to share it with his friends, his customers and his sweet adopted dog Jazz.
Doug has been on quite the journey. Between early business ventures dancing from door to door, to making and selling jewelry, to moving all over to fulfill a life long dream of being a business owner, Doug has finally made it.
He might not be the richest man in Springfield, or have the most successful store, but he has found happiness.