The takeover of iconic British chocolate maker Cadbury’s by the US-based food giant Kraft caused a lot of anger.

For many, it marked the end of another British institution.

The anger increased when, weeks after the deal, Kraft bosses announced the closure of a Cadbury factory they had promised to retain.

The flip side of the Cadbury saga can be seen here in Bradford.

I recently met Don Hall Jr, the US-based president and chief executive of Hallmark Cards. This family-owned international greetings card business acquired the former W N Sharpe operation in Bradford in 1984 for nearly £21m.

That takeover turned out to be good for Bradford.

Hallmark, now the world’s largest greetings card business, is celebrating its centenary, and Mr Hall is touring the firm’s global sites to celebrate with local employees.

He visited Bradford, where Hallmark employs more than 2,000 of its 3,000 UK workforce, to acknowledge their part in its continued progress.

Far from turning its back on the Sharpe legacy, Hallmark has made Bradford one of its key global centres and the base for the Hallmark International division.

Last year, Don’s brother David Hall officially opened the firm’s £12m warehouse and distribution centre at Dudley Hill, which has revitalised a site once occupied by engineers Crofts, later Renold.

Hallmark, which opened its first UK office in London in 1958, completely refurbished Sharpe’s 1930s colonnaded building on Bingley Road and transferred its UK base there. Hallmark House was officially opened in November 2001.

Mr Hall told me: “We are still celebrating our decision to come to Bradford.”

Looking ahead, he was confident of continued growth for the business.

He said the greeting card industry’s trump card, which makes it well placed for a long and healthy future, was due to being based on people’s emotions. This is borne out by the fact that, according to company literature, Hallmark UK is on track for its fifth successive year of growth in 2010.

Major investment in its Bradford distribution operations has improved the picking and packing processes and halved the time it takes from creating a card to it reaching customers.

Hallmark cards are sold in 15,000 retailers, including leading supermarkets in the UK and Ireland, with market share increasing. There’s also growing demand for e-cards.

That’s good to know.