Archive for Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hallmark to close Topeka plant; work expected to move to Lawrence facility

A car moves past the Hallmark Cards Inc. plant in Topeka, Kan., Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. The company says it plans to close the plant by the end of 2013.

A car moves past the Hallmark Cards Inc. plant in Topeka, Kan., Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. The company says it plans to close the plant by the end of 2013.

October 2, 2012, 5:39 p.m. Updated October 2, 2012, 11:58 p.m.


Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards is closing its Topeka manufacturing facility and will transfer all of its greeting card and envelope production to Lawrence’s Hallmark plant, the company announced Tuesday.

The reorganization also means that Hallmark will move its specialty operations of production of ribbons, bows and stickers, from Lawrence to Leavenworth.

“We have about 500 associates in the Topeka facility, and when we are done with this consolidation, some of those associates will move to the Lawrence plant and some of those associates at Lawrence will move to our Leavenworth facility,” said Pete Burney, senior vice president for supply chain and business enablement.

When the reorganization is completed, Hallmark will have reduced its 1,300 workers at plants in Lawrence, Topeka and Leavenworth to 1,000, and that workforce will be roughly split between Lawrence and Leavenworth, Burney said at a news conference in Topeka. So that means the number of people working at the Lawrence plant, 101 McDonald Drive, will remain about the same.

Burney said the consolidation was needed to better manage operating costs. He said greeting card sales have decreased from five billion cards sold annually to four billion over the last 10 years, but he said the industry is still sound.

Greg Williams, president and CEO of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, said he felt for the impact the decision would have on Topeka, but he said Tuesday’s news puts Hallmark in a position to be a major employer in the area for many years.

“This decision solidifies the company’s presence in Lawrence and eastern Kansas,” Williams said. “Consolidations are tough, but they are made for good reasons. There are real signs that Hallmark is very committed to being in Lawrence for a very long time.”

When the consolidation is complete, the Lawrence plant will be Hallmark’s only U.S. facility making greeting cards and envelopes. The Lawrence plant already made about two-thirds of the company’s U.S. greeting cards, with the other third produced in Topeka.

Hallmark officials said excess capacity at the three northeastern Kansas plants led to the decision to close the Topeka facility. Burney also said costs were more manageable in Lawrence and Leavenworth. For example, he said, transportation and insurance costs were higher in Topeka. He noted the Hallmark building in Topeka was in a flood plain and that increased insurance costs.

“Hallmark has a long history in Topeka and any action that impacts employees, and in this case a community, is taken only after a thorough evaluation and careful consideration,” Donald Hall Jr., Hallmark’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “The work we are doing now in three facilities can be accomplished in two. This decision allows us to streamline our operations and improve our cost structure so we can remain competitive in today’s marketplace.”

The approximately 700,000-square-foot Topeka Hallmark plant, located at 240 S.E. Madison, opened in 1966. The company has had a plant in Topeka since 1943. It plans to sell the building.


Bud Stagg 5 years, 5 months ago

I bet this one is not so much the economy as it is electronic greeting cards.

Erin Graham 5 years, 5 months ago

That and younger generations tend to send a 'happy birthday' or 'thinking of you' or 'condolences' or 'congrats' via text or facebook. If I get 'real' mail, it's usually from someone over 70. I saw a cartoon not too long ago that showed someone sitting at their computer in the 90s excited that their computer popped up "You've got Mail!"... The next frame was someone today, at their mailbox super excited to get real mail.

Topple 5 years, 5 months ago

Pretty accurate. Anytime I see my Inbox (5), I expect at least 4 of the new emails to be junk, but if I open my mailbox and see it stuffed, I get excited.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 5 months ago

In my experience, e-cards have not caught on. They have been around for at least 15 years but have never really made a big impact. They just aren't considered as personal as a physical card or letter.

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

I worked in printing biz for 25 years. It is truly sad to see this once awesome trade and industry dying a slow death.

kernal 5 years, 5 months ago

e-cards are convenient, quick and easy to send, but after a card to a parent was delayed in its arrival by several days, I've going back to the real deal. Besides, I think it shows the recipient you care enough to take the time to find the right card and mail it to them. Especially at Christmas.

patkindle 5 years, 5 months ago

obama will save us. of course hallmark doesnt do the democrat holiday card but they will get free cheese and govt money hope and change youknow.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

patkindle, we are in Kansas where the big Republican experiment of cutting taxes deeply is happening. Not working too well so far, is it? But the laid off Hallmark workers will probably vote for Brownback again in 2 years anyway. They are that stupid.

Currahee 5 years, 5 months ago

Leave out the soaringeagle bit so this bloke doesn't get referral money.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

Getting a little comment spam in, are we?

dabbindan 5 years, 5 months ago

and of course, whatever saving obama manages to do, sam will find a way to pat, you'll be safe from all that hope and change youknow.

blindrabbit 5 years, 5 months ago

Hallmark used to say printing greeting cards was better than printing currency. Also, postal rate changes have hurt the greeting card industry. Also, too much of a throw away industry, cards, gift wrap, ribbons, bows, plates, napkins, hard to argue from a environmental point-of-view. Another killer for Hallmark was shifting to short run production, too much time and money devoted to make-ready production versus inventory build, Closing facilities in Canada, Orient, Europe, Utah, Georgia and Kansas facilities in Winfield, Topeka and 2nd Leavenworth plant speak to a declining business. Also company got too involved in business ventures outside it's core, including candy, flowers, movie production, Revel models, Spanish language T.V.,and cutsie(supposedly collectable) products caused problems.

Stephanie Hull 5 years, 5 months ago

I heard that when Hallmark built their plant here in the 1950s they got a 100-year tax abatement. Does anyone know if that's true? I wonder how much of an impact that had on their decision to move work out of Topeka to Lawrence.

RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

I know an older couple who, when an anniversary, birthday or holiday comes around, go into the card shop and pick out cards for each other. After exchanging them they smile and say how nice it was, then place them back in their slots and leave. They tell me they can eat out for what they saved by not buying the cards.

patkindle 5 years, 5 months ago

i doubt if hallmark would make a move unless thier was a need,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, perhaps their income did not meet thier needs. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,i would bet they are a bit smarter than the local posters.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, but no worry, obama will take care of the folks out of a job,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, hope and change, just take more money away from the folks with money, and give to the ones that dont have money.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, it is not new concept, it has been around for decades,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, check your history books.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 5 months ago

"i doubt if hallmark would make a move unless thier was a need,,,,,,,,,,,,i would bet they are a bit smarter than the local posters"

Ironic Post of the Day!

thefactsare 5 years, 5 months ago

sjgreen, Kansas statutes do not allow for a 100 year abatement. The max is 100% for 10 years. Hallmark did receive a 10 year abatement when opening in Lawrence but that has since run out.

ou812mr2 5 years, 5 months ago

hitme, don't muddy up gods name. If we are talking about Obama shouldn't you say Allah bless Obama? Just saying.

Tammy Copp-Barta 5 years, 5 months ago

I just want a Hallmark store back in Lawrence ... funny we have a plant .. and now store!

Tammy Copp-Barta 5 years, 5 months ago

that would be no store ... fingers not moving well this morning :)

thefactsare 5 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence won't gain any jobs. There are currently 1300 Hallmark employees in the state and now there will be 1000 which means a loss of 300. That's even worse for Brownback's plan as we are moving in the wrong direction.

optimist 5 years, 5 months ago

Are you kidding me? We know you are a left winger when you blame this on a state Governor. Hallmark is a business that has to compete in a global market. The global market is changing and it is unfortunately affecting this business and for that matter the entire industry. This is not a political decision and has nothing to do with who the Governor or President is. If you want to fix this why don't you go out and buy about a billion greeting cards from Hallmark. I hope Hallmark can find a way to evolve with the market and remain viable for a long time to come. Get a grip.

wysiwyg69 5 years, 5 months ago

From my past experience at Hallmark, all I can say is the people at the Lawrence plant should be on high alert for reasons to be fired. You have seen this in the past with the KC and Leavenworth shutdowns. When the east plants were shut down and those people moved west, was there or was there not a lot of people that were let go. Yes some deserved to be fired but some did not. This is not the end of the headaches for the current employees.

Steve Stucky 5 years, 5 months ago

I was about to write a reply, but couldn't find any post cards.

Steve Miller 5 years, 5 months ago

Now you all know how us Farmlanders felt in 2001. Welcome to corporate greed.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 5 months ago

Can you please define "corporate greed" for me?

optimist 5 years, 5 months ago

Unless you have purchased several Hallmark cards every year it's your fault this plant is closing and these people will lose their jobs. It is hypocritical to refer to a company maintaining profitability for its ownership/stockholders if you haven't taken a vow of poverty. Profits are what drive companies to grow and expand as much as contract. It is merely a response to supply and demand. Much like we individuals who spend or don't based on how much expendable cash we have. These are businesses, not charities.

MarcoPogo 5 years, 5 months ago

Fine then, you all have some answering to do for not purchasing enough Dippin' Dots!!!

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

Are these jobs "green" enough to satisfy the usual carpers on this award-winning website?

Steve Jacob 5 years, 5 months ago

Lets not blame Obama, Brownback, or corporate greed for this. Hallmark makes products less people buy, and are is survival mode. The Lawrence plant has dodged another bullet, but at some point by the end of the decade, we will read that the Lawrence or Leavenworth plant has closed.

motomom 5 years, 5 months ago

this makes me sad. i love hallmark cards and i continue to send them. i LOVE getting cards in the so much nicer than a bill or a goofy ad. i try to send them to make other people happier too when they open their mail boxes. there are affordable nice ones....99 you can't complain that they are ALL expensive. call me pollyanna...but i challenge everyone out there to take some time, go get a card and send somebody a card and make their day. its funny how much better it will make you feel too. give it a whirl!

LawrenceTownie 5 years, 5 months ago

Hallmark has made many changes in the last 20 years +, some good some bad. The "just in time" was a huge one, way too many make readys, not enough stock in inventory. The machines had to be changed too often so the workers were changing, changing, etc. for different size cards, different colors, etc. etc. So much work for so little production. Get the order, change the machine, send to the retail shop, start over tomorrow. Other changes also have affected the decision making machine there, as when J.C. Hall passed away and son Don took the reins. Even though Don has not yet passed, his sons are minding the store at times. You have probably heard of the old saying: Generation One makes a thriving business, Generation Two keeps it going, Generation Three loses the business. Or it just might be the postal stamps, email, other card companies taking hold, etc. etc. Economy might also have something to do with it. Probably isn't any one thing. The Retired Hallmarkers have now been told they need to purchase healthcare elsewhere, rather than pay for it at Hallmark. Another kick in the old #$@ for a lifetime of work well done!!

DustyAcres 5 years, 5 months ago

Not sure where you are getting your info but we still get our insurance through Hallmark. None of the retired people I know have been told to get insurance someplace else-including me.

DustyAcres 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't know of any retired Hallmarker who has been told we have to buy our insurance someplace else-including me.

blindrabbit 5 years, 5 months ago

The company is way too top heavy in terms of people holding "Corporate" positions versus those that are in product production. The culture at Hallmark makes great distinction between the two groups. One of the main reasons to close down the Kansas City Crown Center Production Facility in 2000 was to assure minimal mixing of the two groups; moving production types out of Crown Center. There is no doubt a lot of truth on the ownership generational differences as pointed out by an earlier blogger. Another problem I saw when I was at the Company was a continuing generation of "poor" ideas and business investments as the salvation of the business. Many times a new manager, in an attempt to create "standing" would foist a proposal that had been invalidated previously, or had little chance of success. My conclusion based on years at the Company, is that weak management was a major factor in the operation of Hallmark.

UfoPilot 5 years, 5 months ago

How is 27 dollars an hour plus benefits a low paying job? NO amount of government tax breaks can help a business when sales are down 56 percent this year and 34 percent last year . If you want more jobs buy more cards.

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