Two Kansas City families are among the nation’s wealthiest

07/10/2014 9:48 AM

07/10/2014 7:57 PM

Two Kansas City families — well known for selling greeting cards and boxes of chocolates — rank among the wealthiest in America, according to a Forbes magazine survey released Thursday.

The Hall family, which runs Hallmark Cards, was 89th on the Forbes list, with a net worth of $2.6 billion.

Though Forbes noted that Kansas City-based Hallmark suffered a 2 percent drop in sales last year, the company’s profits rose thanks partly to cost-cutting. Strong sales at Hallmark’s Crayola subsidiary have also helped.

The Ward family was ranked 124th on the Forbes list, with a combined net worth of $1.8 billion. The family has controlled the Russell Stover candy company since 1960, but the owners are exploring a possible sale of the business.

Forbes, whose other lists include a ranking of the 400 richest individuals, ranked 185 family fortunes. Wal-Mart’s Walton family topped the list, with a net worth of $152 billion. Wichita’s Koch family was No. 2, at $89 billion.

Among others with regional ties, the Hunt family — owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, among other things — was ranked 13th with a net worth of $15 billion. The Busch family in St. Louis was ranked 17th, at $13 billion.

The list only included large family businesses. Forbes said it left out married couples and “self-made entrepreneurs who founded their companies” and make the Forbes 400 list with their nuclear family. That explains the absence of area billionaires such as Neal Patterson of Cerner and Gary Burrell and Min Kao of Garmin.

To reach Steve Rosen, call 816-234-4879 or send email to srosen@kcstar.com.

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