Archive for Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hallmark to consolidate its two plants in Leavenworth

June 14, 2007

Hallmark Cards Inc. will be closing its Select Products plant in Leavenworth and consolidating equipment and employees there into its production center at 450 Eisenhower Road.

Julie O'Dell, a Hallmark spokeswoman, said the company would continue to have 450 employees in Leavenworth. All 150 employees in the Select Products plant, 4901 Select Products Drive, will be offered the ability to transfer to Eisenhower Road, she said. Both plants make gift wrap and partyware.

The changes were announced Tuesday, June 12, to employees and made public Wednesday, June 13.

The moves are scheduled to begin immediately and be complete by the end of 2008. After that, O'Dell said, the 255,000-square-foot Select Products plant - which opened in 1959 - will be put up for sale.

"It's going to (allow us to) gain some flexibility and maximize our efficiencies," O'Dell said. "Our partyware and giftwrap production is absolutely centered in Leavenworth. It's an important part of our business, and we consider the Leavenworth facility to be a center of excellence - and it will continue."

The 255,000-square-foot Select Products plant opened in 1959. Hallmark opened its 756,000-square-foot Leavenworth production center in 1968.

O'Dell said the production center could handle the additional employees and equipment without expansion.

The decisions come after Hallmark announced early last year that it would be transferring 125 jobs out of the company's Leavenworth production center. The jobs - all involving production of greeting cards - were switched to plants in Lawrence, Topeka and Toronto.

At the time, the Leavenworth plant accounted for only 8 percent of the company's total card production.

Last year, Hallmark's announcement of job transfers came from Ray Powers, Hallmark's operations vice president for manufacturing. Powers has since retired from the company, effective June 1, and many of his responsibilities - including oversight of production in Lawrence, Leavenworth, Topeka and Toronto - went to Mary Beth Brown, the company's vice president for product solutions.

Brown served as general manager of the Lawrence plant from 2003 until her promotion earlier this year.

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