Signs that new owner of Allen Press is cutting, outsourcing jobs from Lawrence plant; KU bringing in top ice cream chef for entrepreneur event

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

The printing plant and headquarters for Allen Press are shown in East Lawrence on Jan. 10, 2023.

Let’s do some news and notes from around town:

• It sure sounds like the new owners of longtime Lawrence-based business Allen Press — now known as Sheridan Kansas — are making some changes that are impacting jobs at the company’s East Lawrence facility.

I’ve heard from multiple employees at the company that employees were told early this week that about 30 of the company’s nonprinting-press oriented jobs were going to be eliminated and outsourced to a location overseas.

I began reaching out to a press contact for the company’s new owners, Minnesota-based CJK Group, on Wednesday morning telling her what I had heard. I briefly heard back on Thursday afternoon from the spokeswoman, who said she was going to momentarily send over a statement about the changes regarding the Lawrence operation. But on Friday afternoon, the spokeswoman said the company had decided not to issue a statement.

According to an employee who did not want to be named, the Lawrence facility is eliminating many, if not all, of its editors, sales positions, typesetters, proofreaders and other similar positions that have supported the publishing operations of the company. It sounded like press operators, mailroom employees and other types of production workers would remain at the Lawrence plant, at 810 E. 10th St. I shared that info with the spokeswoman, who declined to comment.

The company has long been a publisher of scientific and academic journals from across the world. That work has not only involved the actual printing of those journals, but also the editing and compiling of information for those journals.

According to the source, the project to move work out of the Lawrence facility will begin next month, with job losses beginning in July and running through September.

I’ve also heard that the Lawrence plant could grow in some other ways. As we reported in January when the sale was announced, CJK said it was attracted to the Lawrence location because it offered a convenient mailing location for Midwest and West Coast customers.

Since that announcement, I’ve heard that CJK has been moving some of that type of work to the facility. So, perhaps the Lawrence facility is growing in some ways and shrinking in others. I asked the CJK spokeswoman about any growth happening at the facility, but haven’t heard back on that either. It also is unclear how many employees currently work at the Lawrence facility. Decades ago, Allen Press, which dates back to 1935 in Lawrence, had about 300 employees, but there have long been indications those numbers have dropped over the years.

As for the CJK Group, its operations are extensive. In addition to printing plants in Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, the company also has locations in Italy, Belgium and China. According to its website, the company does business in the book, scholarly journal, niche magazine and catalog publishing industries.

I’ll let you know if I receive additional information worth passing along.

• Let’s go from news about a really old business to one that is so new it hasn’t even started yet. The University of Kansas is starting a new event targeted toward entrepreneurs who are starting new businesses in the area.

In late April, KU will host Startup Jayhawk, an inaugural celebration of student entrepreneurs and others that take the risk to create new ventures. As part of the event, the KU School of Business is hosting a keynote lecture by Jeni Britton, founder and chief creative officer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 25 at the KU School of Business on the Lawrence campus.

Britton is a James Beard Award-winning ice cream maker who founded her company in Columbus, Ohio, after more than 20 years of making ice cream on her own. Today, the company has 65 shops, sells online across the country and has distribution deals with several national grocers.

Britton’s lecture is open to the public, but KU is asking people to register in advance at

Other events planned for Startup Jayhawk, which runs from April 25 to April 27 include a mixer for student entrepreneurs and area providers of business services, and a reverse pitch competition in which students will gather to showcase their skills in developing solutions for various business challenges.

photo by: Courtesy: University of Kansas

Jeni Britton


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