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Founded by Bob Hickey in 2017. Patent Press Greeting Cards is a unique line of more than 400 different designs featuring artwork that originally accompanied actual patent applications filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. These one of a kind cards can be purchased through the Patent Press Greeting Card website, patentpressgreetingcards.com and in more than 100 stores and museums throughout the United States (In Rochester, the cards are sold at Parkleigh and Record Archive).
A Legacy of Love
Bob Hickey’s Marriage of Two Passions Left a Legacy of Meaningful Employment for People with Disabilities.
From his bed in hospice care, losing more strength every day, Bob Hickey was still only thinking about how he could continue to help others. Bob worked at Lifetime Assistance for 13 years. He had recently been promoted to Work Center Business Manager, for Lifetime’s LAICO Industries, on Paul Rd.
In February of 2020, shortly after turning 60, Bob was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The cancer had spread and sadly Bob passed away on April 30.
During his last weeks, he expressed his gratitude for the care he received at the University of Rochester Medicine Palliative Care Center. “The staff and their dedication and outlook are beyond compare. The best lesson that has come out of this, is what great people there are in the world.” Bob was one of those great people. As he neared the end of his life, he made arrangements to donate and transition his successful and nationally-recognized boutique greeting card company, Patent Press Greeting Cards, to his day job employer, Lifetime Assistance.
Bob saw the donation as a marriage of two passions. Having successfully led a series of start-up businesses for Lifetime that created meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities, he knew his greeting card company had significant potential to grow. So he decided to donate it to his other passion, Lifetime Assistance.
“They grasped the potential,” he said. “Lifetime has been a real champion of taking this on. I hope that a business with a mission behind it – to help more people with disabilities find meaningful employment – will live on and thrive. This will be a legacy to continue my life’s work of helping others.”
From his hospice room, Bob worked rapidly on the transition details with Jamie Branciforte, Lifetime’s President & CEO, and Katie Gillespie, Director of Community Services & Supports, sharing a lifetime of business and retailing knowledge before he died. He wanted the business to be operated primarily by the people supported by Lifetime Assistance services so that they have a unique and interesting job experience that will also bring joy to those who enjoy the beautiful greeting cards.
At LAICO Bob managed the operations of shredding, scanning, and light production and ensured that LAICO Industries had meaningful and engaging work for its employees, including workers with and without developmental disabilities. His involvement in LAICO’s business ventures spanned running with ideas for start-ups, working with employers to solve common problems, getting major grants, and business partners, and helping people get a good start on what it means to be employed. Some of the startups he grew included the complementary businesses of shredding and adding scanning.
He said the biggest reward in his work for Lifetime Assistance, “was making pragmatic change for people who thought they would only work in a limited capacity, reach their full potential.”
Bob and his wife Annette ran the business during evenings and weekend hours from a studio at the Hungerford Building in downtown Rochester. The retail and wholesale company initially sold cards at craft shows and quickly grew to become a vibrant online retail and wholesale business. The cards are now highly represented in more than 100 stores and museums in major cities, including Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco. In Rochester, the cards are sold at Parkleigh and Record Archive. The company has been honored with many national awards. In 2020, it was awarded best Father’s Day card award competing with Hallmark and others, and won the rising star award, for a company in business three years or less. Retail was not new to Bob. He owned several stores during his lifetime including art galleries in Nantucket, and a cigar store in Pittsford. Bob viewed the artwork accompanying patent applications as the most authentic view inside of the mind of the inventor engaged in the creative process. Applicants needed to capture and communicate something that never existed. He appreciated the inventor’s truth and beauty of the original documents.
Thanks to Bob’s creation and vision for Patent Press Greeting Cards and his wife Annette’s generosity in donating it to Lifetime, the company will enter a new chapter. Under the capable and compassionate hands of Lifetime Assistance, it will open doors to new opportunities for people with disabilities and carry on Bob’s lifelong mission to help others.
Purchase your one of a kind greeting cards today!