Hallmark to lay off 6 to 8 percent of U.S. work force, with some in Lawrence

Company has 700 employees working at Lawrence production plant

April 14, 2009, 9:59 a.m. Updated April 14, 2009, 11:34 a.m.


Hallmark Cards announced Tuesday that it would be eliminating jobs at its production plants in Lawrence, Topeka and Leavenworth, part of an overall plan that could cut up to 750 jobs from the Kansas City, Mo.-based company.

Hallmark plans to reduce the size of its U.S.-based work force, excluding subsidiaries, during the next six months by 6 percent to 8 percent — translating to 550 to 750 jobs out of the 9,200 full-time employees who work in Hallmark’s personal expressions business.

Hallmark said it would offer a voluntary severance program for eligible, hourly employees in its operations division, which includes company production plants in Lawrence, Topeka and Leavenworth. All eligible employees were informed of the voluntary severance offers beginning Tuesday morning and have two weeks to decide whether to accept.

Hallmark expects as many as 450 jobs to be eliminated from the seven locations in five states that make up the division, including:

• Lawrence, which has 700 employees making Shoebox and other greeting cards, plus ribbons and other products at 101 McDonald Drive.

• Topeka, which has 680 employees making cards and envelopes.

• Leavenworth, which has 405 employees making giftwrap, paper plates and cups, and a variety of Crayola products.

Involuntary cuts will occur during the next month to six months at the seven operations locations, plus Hallmark headquarters in Kansas City, said Julie O’Dell, a Hallmark spokeswoman. The cuts will not affect Hallmark’s U.S.-based subsidiaries, including Crayola and Crown Center.

All affected employees will be provided severance and transition assistance.

“Reducing our work force by this many jobs is something we wish we did not have to do,” said Donald J. Hall Jr., president and CEO. “These actions are all the more difficult and emotional because of the strong and personal culture we share at Hallmark. Despite all the steps we have taken to date to avoid eliminating additional jobs, the state of the economy and its impact on our business require us to take further action.”

Earlier this year, Hallmark had announced that it would be closing its corporate headquarters and all production and distribution centers for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, part of a cost-cutting move.

Hallmark reported net revenues of $4.3 billion last year, down from $4.4 billion in 2007. Hallmark expects “additional pressure” on revenues and earnings this year, as the company grapples with declining consumer confidence and spending.

The planned job cuts are intended to address the company’s economic condition and expectations for 2009, O’Dell said.

“Like everybody else, the economy is having an impact on our business,” O’Dell said. “We definitely think we’re taking adequate steps now, but we, too, will have to continue to monitor the climate ... and we will react as we need to.

“We’re hopeful that these steps will be enough.”


woodenfleaeater 9 years, 2 months ago

Do you think they called a meeting, or just gave everyone a "Thinking of You" card?

Keith 9 years, 2 months ago

There's the end of the long tradition of no layoffs in bad economic times.

Jersey_Girl 9 years, 2 months ago

Revenues fell 2% so they are cutting 6-8% of workforce? By my calculations, that's a loss of aproximately 877 million dollars. That sounds like a lot of money to me, but I'm not a corporation. By my calculations, the 750 employees, or 8% of the workforce, are either costing Hallmark $1.17 million a piece or the company is hoping to make a profit off the loss of their employees.

JS82 9 years, 2 months ago

They need to find a new product or service to help them grow. The card business has been declining over the years as people communicate in other ways. Younger people are not sending cards as their parents or grandparents once did.

I hope Hallmark can turn it around as it once was "The place" to work in the KC area.

my2girls 9 years, 2 months ago

Please people!! Hallmark has been sending there work to China for several years now. They have been cutting jobs right and left all over the country for awhile now. Hallmark stinks! The sound cards come from China now. When you care enough to send the very best, your sending it out of our country.

fearsadness14 9 years, 2 months ago

my2girls, sorry to become another victim of my pet peeve, but please learn to use proper grammar when it comes to the words their, there, they're, and your vs. you're.

absolutelyridiculous 9 years, 2 months ago

Or course...keep the Chinese jobs. Make sure they are secure. If there ever was a time for "out of the box thinking" in the corporate would be now.

my2girls 9 years, 2 months ago

logruthmic: I agree with you!

fearsadness: get a life. I know the difference between there, their, they're and your and you're. I was mad after I read the article and responded quickly. I didn't proof read what I wrote.

Satirical 9 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if Hallmark has cards for people that just got laid off.

I further wonder what that card would likely say, and whether these employees will be receiving one.

Jersey_Girl 9 years, 2 months ago

Satirical - did you have something in mind?

alfie 9 years, 2 months ago

Hallmark has cards for all occasions On the outside of the card it will say "For the person who has everything". And on the inside of the card it will read "except a job".... and will be signed by the sender" happy hunting- Don Hall"

absolutelyridiculous 9 years, 2 months ago

You're fired Card for Hallmark Employees:

Front of Card: Because we care enough to fire the very best. Inside: Thanks for your years of hard work to Hallmark Cards. Unfortunately, your service here is no longer required. But we do have a nice parting gift, please accept this box of fortune cookies as our way of saying
謝謝你的小狗 (thank you little dog)

Rae Smith Evans 9 years, 2 months ago

we will find out what will happen. They are not the company they used to be, but we are not the consumers that we used to be. Hey Congress, can Hallmark get a bailout?? What's better in tough times than sending a card to lift someone's spirits??

justsayno 9 years, 2 months ago

To my2girls:I am curious as to what criteria you used to come to the brilliant decision that Halmark stinks. Was it because they are laying off permanent employees for the first time in almost a hundred years? I guess a lot of company's stink then. Granted Hallmark is not the same company as it used to be. But what company is? Now, I probably don't know as much about Hallmark as you do since I only worked for the company for 39 years. Have you been around for 39 years? Probably not.

hawkergrl 9 years, 2 months ago

absolutelyridiculous: That's great. Although this is awful to have happen to these employees, that card right there would for some reason make me smile while walking out the door.

Jaminrawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Kind of what happens occasionally when kids born with a silver spoon in their mouths are handed the reigns of a company and have no business sense other than outsourcing everything. Should have diversified their offerings more seriously a long time ago. Greed, greed, greed.

Sheila Hooper White 9 years, 2 months ago

justsayno - Thank you:) My mother has worked for Hallmark for over 40 years.

Yes I'm sure there are days she hasn't like her job, but who doesn't. I think people should be thankful they have a job. Sad think about people now is they just don't care about anyone but themselves. Some people feel better when they put others down. I'm not saying that the cards everyone is coming up with isn't funny, it is. I'm just saying why all the negative why can't we just be happy, enjoy the days we are given and quit being Negative Nellie!!

Marc Mondi 9 years, 2 months ago

Hey Jonathan (Kealing),

What is up with the advertisement in the middle of the article above? I don't mind the ads imbedded in the comment section, but the ad (I think it was stub hub??) above covers up part of the article, and you cannot close it.


mmiller 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm surprised they haven't embeded ads sooner!!! I always wondered why they haven't embeded more ads in the blogs. It's a great idea.

Jersey_Girl 9 years, 2 months ago

mondojeepin - I had that problem last week. And the ads along the comment section don't bother me, but I don't like that they are now between comments. I keep thinking I've come to the end of the comments for that particular article. I've been wanting to gripe about that since yesterday when I noticed it. Thanks for mentioning so I can add my two cents, for what they're worth.

d_prowess 9 years, 2 months ago

The ads don't bother me at all. As long as some company is willing to pay the LJW for those ads and those ads then support people like Jonathan and the work he does, I am all for it.
Don't forget, papers are going out of business all over the place so those things are probably nessesary for us to have a place like this to come to!

d_prowess 9 years, 2 months ago

oh, but they probably shouldn't be covering up the story! I bet that is some weird setting problem.

KsTwister 9 years, 2 months ago

If it is not made in USA, then I don't need and I don't want it. Hope those taking early retirement find out how long the company will keep them on their healthcare plan. No surprises.

alfie 9 years, 2 months ago

Hallmark has cards for all occasions On the outside of the card it will say “For the person who has everything”. And on the inside of the card it will read “except a job”…. and will be signed by the sender” happy hunting- Don Hall”

kseagle 9 years, 2 months ago

edjayhawk (Anonymous) says…

Meanwhile, Donald Hall Jr. continues to enjoy the good life in Kansas City as he keeps his position.

kseagle says:

Hallmark is a privately owned company by the Halls. Get a clue about how companies are organized and owned before you spout off with idiocy.

kseagle 9 years, 2 months ago

Machiavelli_mania (Anonymous) says…

Maybe that Hallmark lady should have kept her money instead of being so stupid as to donate to Bush's campaigns.

kseagle says:

Once again you mention this "Hallmark Lady". Do you really think Maxine is real???

inklines 9 years, 2 months ago

Most of those employees who worked at Hallmark and were smart enough to get out when they did saw the handwriting on the wall about the declining "ink on paper" market long before the corporate execs would admit it. Hallmark's decline and its failure to diversify product started with advances in social networking technology. It is not about market share (Hallmark is still the overwhelming industry leader) but a shrinking market. Computers, e-mail, cell phones, facebook, etc, have drawn consumers away from expensive paper greeting products, especially among younger generations who are not being taught to send cards and find their electronic methods more instantly gratifying. The economy and cheaper outsourcing options have made domestic production difficult to justify, even though the domestic operations can produce a higher and more consistent level of quality and craftmanship.

naturalway 9 years, 2 months ago

Hallmark can't compete with the ultra low cost manufacturing of China, therefore most things are now made in China. These include not only Hallmark products but also ur pet food, ur clothing, ur home decorations, ur appliances, ur toys, your Christmas tree and ornaments, ur furniture (yes! even if u do not believe it!), ur mattress, ur cell phone, ur tooth brush, ur socks, ur tennis shoes, your desk lamp, chemicals for ur medications, ur computer (my computer), ur sunglasses, even ur underwear! The current situation of the economy only aggravates things but it doesn't change the fact that sooner or later, Hallmark will make everything in China, just like many other companies already do and have been doing for many years. How come nobody talks about Apple, that makes absolutely everything in China, even its R&D (read about the company Foxcom)! Or Walmart, a company that has made a fortune selling ultra low cost Chinese goods at high prices (not "low prices"). Are these the true "American" companies that we often talk so proudly about? But if a foreign based company like Kawasaki, VW, Toyota, Honda or Subaru come to America, we always made sure they were considered "foreign" companies. Even though those factory jobs employed Americans and were 1,000 times better than the ultra low salary jobs of greedy Walmart (Walmart should be renamed as the "ALL4CHINA" store). Corporations don't care about America or Americans, they just care about making $. China will continue to become wealthier and in the near future, it will dominate the world. Imagine if America would go to war with China, we would be doomed even before the first bullet was fired. We'd have no boots, uniforms or helmets because they were all made in China already. And we'd be outgunned because absolutely everything was sent to be made in China and quickly copied there. This is not just about Hallmark, it's about most companies in America (and perhaps the rest of the world). Mr. Hall Jr. also has the right to do what most companies in America have been doing for a while (look at Disney! for example): that is to transfer its manufacturing to China to achieve lower costs (and expose its know-how to be copied by China). It's not China's fault either. Our politicians lobbying for China and the big corporations are to blame. Not to mention that now we owe a lot of money to them. America, where are we going? what are we doing? We must fight the source of our problems and that is to start with limiting Walmart, Apple and Target (to name a few) to sell up to a maximum % of Chinese made goods and other locations or heavily tax some foreign made goods just like China does. Beware of goods labeled as made in the US but that are actually made overseas. This may be a good way to start. Before u talk about free markets, China protects every single industry they have but this is not their problem, it's our problem. It's our fault. Hallmark is just a company. It can't fix what the government doesn't fix.

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