Hallmark Cards Inc. has announced that it will outsource some of the ribbon- and bow-making work currently handled by the company's plant in Lawrence.
The move will not eliminate any Hallmark jobs in Lawrence, where the company has about 800 employees at 101 McDonald Drive, said Julie O'Dell, a Hallmark spokeswoman.
Instead, she said, the switch will allow the plant to shed responsibility for a handful of formats of seasonal ribbons and bows in favor of spending more time and energy on other products.
The Lawrence plant produces 80 percent to 90 percent of Hallmark's ribbons and bows, O'Dell said, and the amount being outsourced amounts to less than 1 percent of that total.
"It's a unique format, and a low-volume format," O'Dell said. "We'd rather use the capacity in some other way."
The Lawrence plant, which opened in 1958 and expanded eight years later, makes all of Hallmark's Shoebox line of cards. It also handles special orders - including last year's 1.5 million White House holiday cards - and others requiring special processes, such as die cutting and foil stamping. The 650,000-square-foot plant also makes stickers.
Hallmark also announced Wednesday that it would be closing one of its two plants in Leavenworth. Equipment and employees from 4901 Select Products Drive will be consolidated into the Hallmark production center at 450 Eisenhower Road.
Hallmark will continue to have 450 employees in Leavenworth, O'Dell said. All 150 employees in the Select Products plant will be offered the ability to transfer to Eisenhower Road. Both plants make giftwrap and partyware.
The moves are scheduled to begin immediately and be complete by the end of 2008. After that, O'Dell said, the 255,000-square-foot Select Products plant - which opened in 1959 - will be put up for sale.
"It's going to (allow us to) gain some flexibility and maximize our efficiencies," O'Dell said. "Our partyware and giftwrap production is absolutely centered in Leavenworth. It's an important part of our business, and we consider the Leavenworth facility to be a center of excellence - and it will continue."
The decisions come after Hallmark announced early last year that it would be transferring 125 jobs out of the company's plant on Eisenhower Road in Leavenworth.
The jobs - all involving production of greeting cards - were switched to plants in Lawrence, Topeka and Toronto.
At the time, the Leavenworth plant accounted for only 8 percent of the company's total card production.
Last year, Hallmark's announcement of job transfers came from Ray Powers, Hallmark's operations vice president for manufacturing. Powers has since retired from the company, effective June 1, and many of his responsibilities - including oversight of production in Lawrence, Leavenworth, Topeka and Toronto - went to Mary Beth Brown, the company's vice president for product solutions.
Brown served as general manager of the Lawrence plant from 2003 until her promotion earlier this year.