Yearbook publisher Lifetouch to close 110,000-sq.-ft. publishing plant in Kansas City, Missouri, by Dec. 1, citing industry shift toward digital, self-publishing; closure will affect about 75 of plant's 100 full-time workers
KANSAS CITY, Missouri
July 9, 2014
(Kansas City Star)
– The evolution toward more digital and self publishing is prompting Lifetouch Inc. to end its Kansas City yearbook publishing operations by Dec. 1.
The jobs of about 75 of the plant's 100 full-time employees will be eliminated, but some workers will have relocation opportunities, said Kelvin Miller, media spokesman for Lifetouch.
About 25 jobs in sales and marketing will continue in Kansas City "for the foreseeable future," he said.
The plant shutdown also will eliminate about 300 seasonal jobs, Miller said. Those jobs ramped up between December and June each year in the busy season for yearbook publishing.
Employees at the 110,000-square-foot plant were notified that the closing was necessary to "bring costs in line with revenues."
The company, based in Eden Prairie, Minn., said it will consolidate its yearbook publishing at a remaining plant in Loves Park, Ill.
Miller said Lifetouch has been the national market leader in memory books, publications traditionally for kindergarten through junior high. It's also well-known for publishing church directories. He said the company is not the major player in the yearbook industry associated with high schools.
Lifetouch companies also provide on-site student photographs at schools, sports activities and dances, and operate portrait studios in stores such as Target and J.C. Penney.
The Kansas City operations have been on Ambassador Drive near Kansas City International Airport since a 1993 flood forced a move from a previous site.
Miller said Lifetouch didn't try to get special tax treatment or other incentives from Kansas City economic development officials. He said the publishing consolidation at Loves Park was an internal efficiency decision.
The company, employee-owned since 1978, has permitted seasonal workers, along with full-timers, to participate in its employee stock ownership program. That had encouraged many seasonal employees in the Kansas City area to return each year.
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