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Hallmark now believes about 200 jobs will be added to Lawrence plant when work moves from shuttered Topeka facility

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Officials with Hallmark have revealed more details about their ongoing efforts to close their Topeka plant and transfer the work to the company’s Lawrence facility.

And it is more good news for Lawrence.

The greeting card company is now estimating there will be about 700 jobs at the Lawrence production center, 101 McDonald Drive, when the transition is complete at the end of the year.

That’s up from the about 500 employees the Lawrence plant has had over the past several years, and it also is more than what Hallmark officials indicated when they made the consolidation announcement in October. Back then, Hallmark officials estimated it would have about 1,000 employees in northeast Kansas and that they would be about evenly split between the company’s Lawrence and Leavenworth plants.

Hallmark officials now are estimating the Leavenworth plant will have about 300 employees.

“I would caution everyone that there is still a big ‘about’ in front of all those statements, but those are the numbers we’re planning on right now,” Linda Odell, a Hallmark spokeswoman, said.

Hallmark officials said they now expect the Topeka plant, which has been open since 1966, to close by the end of the year. Work to ready the Lawrence plant for the new employees already is under way.

As we previously reported, city officials in January issued a $600,000 building permit for interior modifications at the Hallmark plant. In February, city officials issued permits for another $556,500, bringing total construction work at the site to $1.15 million.

Odell said the company is not planning a physical expansion of the building, but rather is making modifications to the interior to accommodate additional equipment.

When the transition is complete, the Lawrence production center will produce all domestic Hallmark greeting cards and envelopes. Previously, the Topeka plant was responsible for all domestic production of envelopes, and Lawrence and Topeka shared in the greeting card production.

Lawrence’s ribbon and sticker production lines are being moved to the company’s Leavenworth plant. Odell said she didn’t yet have an estimate of how many of the new Lawrence jobs will be transfers from Topeka versus new hires to the company.

She said over the last several months Hallmark has been offering voluntary buyouts to employees who have shown an interest in leaving the company. Odell said nearly 300 employees have taken advantage of the program. Hallmark is reducing its workforce in northeast Kansas from about 1,300 to 1,000 people in an effort to improve the company’s cost structure.

Odell also didn’t have an estimate on the wages for the new positions, but she said the new Lawrence jobs would be very similar to the production positions that already exist at the plant.

Also on Tuesday, the company made two management announcements for the Lawrence plant. Lawrence resident David Millen has been appointed to oversee domestic greeting card production for Hallmark.

Millen previously had been the general manager for Hallmark’s Topeka plant. He now will oversee operations in Lawrence as part of his new job.

Keith Kennedy, who has been the general manager of the Lawrence plant since 2010, is now overseeing the consolidation efforts for Hallmark in northeast Kansas.

Comments

shortone 1 year, 1 month ago

"She said over the last several months Hallmark has been offering voluntary buyouts to employees who have shown an interest in leaving the company. Odell said nearly 300 employees have taken advantage of the program. Hallmark is reducing its workforce in northeast Kansas from about 1,300 to 1,000 people in an effort to improve the company’s cost structure. "

300 very intelligent people.

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gatekeeper 1 year, 1 month ago

How long until they finally close the Lawrence plant for good? The DOMESTIC greeting card production is done there. I know someone who's worked at Hallmark headquarters in their purchasing/inventory control dept for almost 20 years. Most of the card production is now done in China because of cost and very little is still here in the states. At some point, they'll move it all over there to save more money and will just shut the Lawrence plant down.

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 1 month ago

The real story which the Journal World will not investigate is: How many of the workers from Topeka will commute if they already live in Topeka? How many workers in Topeka live in Lawrence and will not commute to Topeka? How many workers live outside of Douglas county and Shawnee county and will continue to live where they already are. Quite assured that the Topeka plant workers do not all live in Shawnee county.

Where is the rest of the story before eveyone starts believing that 200 people are moving to Lawrence?

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Jeff Goodrick 1 year, 1 month ago

M&M MARS is picking up a good share of the Topeka employees.

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Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

Net effect, 100 less jobs. I imagine a lot of the new positions will go to Former Topeka employees. I don't know if it's a good day or bad.

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patkindle 1 year, 1 month ago

for the first time in as many years 200 people will move to lawrence with jobs what a concept,!!! usually we just get the losers and layabouts

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George_Braziller 1 year, 1 month ago

But it's not an increase in jobs for Lawrence. Most will be filled by those laid off by closing the Topeka facility.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 1 month ago

Hallmark has been good for Kansas but consider these factors.: The number of Hallmark Kansas production employees will be reduced to about 1,000, a combination of Lawrence and Leavenworth locations by the end of the year. But since about 1995, Hallmark's employee population is Kansas has seen a major reductions including: (1) Closing the Binney and Smith (Crayola) facility in Winfield, a loss of about 400 jobs lost to either forced retirement or move to Pennsylvania, (2) Closure of the Osage City plant, had about 200 jobs, either forced retirement, job elimination or some moved to Lawrence, Topeka or Leavenworth, (3) Closure of one of two Leavenworth facilities, lost about 200 jobs due to reduction and some transfer to Lawrence and other Leavenworth plant, (4) Planned closing of Topeka facility with a net job loss of about 300 however some may be able to transefer to either Leavenworth or Lawrence. (5) Additionally, even with these consolidations and closures, the overall population has been additionally reduced by declining needs or shift to other out-of-state and foreign facilities,

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 1 month ago

And all of them will be from the ranks of people who will be considered for the jobs because they are already employed and suitable from the thousands that will apply.

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Steve Jacob 1 year, 1 month ago

Let's not forget that is 300 less Kansas jobs, so let's not jump for joy.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 1 month ago

But, but, I can't go to work, I have 8 weeks left on my unemployment.

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