Soon after Americans have cared enough to send the very best greeting cards for the winter holidays, employees at Hallmark Cards Inc. will be taking a mandatory rest.
The Kansas City, Mo.-based company plans to close its corporate headquarters and all its production and distribution centers — including a plant at 101 McDonald Drive in Lawrence — for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, part of a cost-cutting move announced to employees in January.
Hallmark stores will remain open.
Virtually all of Hallmark’s 9,200 employees in the company’s North American Personal Expressions Group will be affected by the move, which is intended to save on operational expenses, said Linda Odell, a Hallmark spokeswoman.
Employees can schedule vacation days for the shutdown, she said, or otherwise won’t be paid while away from work.
By moving up production schedules, Hallmark still will fill all its orders and meet all needs despite being closed for a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — all days that many employees want to take off, anyway, Odell said.
By announcing the move early in the year, she said, the company is giving employees a chance to accommodate the arrangement into their vacation plans.
“It’s a cost-management strategy, or tactic, but it’s also changing our point of view and being more flexible — allowing people to do what they want to do anyway,” Odell said. “It’s the most popular time of year for everybody to take vacation.”
Among production centers to be closed temporarily for the holidays:
• Lawrence, which has 700 employees making Shoebox and other greeting cards, plus ribbons and other products.
• 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.
Hallmark revenues decreased 2 percent in 2008, the company announced last week, and President and CEO Donald J. Hall Jr. said that “pressure on revenues will likely continue in 2009, requiring us to intensify our efforts to reshape our cost structure.”
Closing headquarters and other operations for the holidays — a first for the company — could become a tradition.
“If this seems to be successful … it might be something we do every year,” Odell said.