From the Print

Antioch Co. sells bookplate division

The Antioch Company officially sold the Antioch Publishing Company to an Indiana-based business last week. Antioch Publishing comprises about 5 percent of the Antioch Company’s total business and the sale will not have a big effect on the manufacturing operations in Yellow Springs, according to company president Lee Morgan.

Antioch Publishing, which produces bookmarks, journals and reading accessories, is being sold to Trends International LLC, whose U.S. facility is located in Indianapolis. The publishing division of the Antioch Company currently employs 22 people at the Yellow Springs facility and 14 in Fairborn, including full and part-time workers, according to a press release from the company. After the move is complete near the end of April, the Antioch Company expects to continue to employ approximately 80 full-time people in Yellow Springs, Morgan said.

The Antioch Company was started in 1926 by Morgan’s father, Ernest Morgan, who, along with fellow Antioch College student Walter Kahoe, came up with the idea to use recycled scrap paper from the college to make and sell bookmarks. The operation soon grew into the Antioch Bookplate Company, and half a century later had expanded its product line and renamed itself the Antioch Publishing Company and later The Antioch Company.

In the 1990s, Creative Memories, the company’s photo album business, expanded greatly, and now comprises nearly all of the company’s business worldwide. Creative Memories is a direct sales business that uses independent representatives to sell products in their local area. That kind of operation is very different from the retail sales method used by Antioch Publishing, which, according to Morgan, was not necessarily hindering the company but had become “more of a distraction.”

Morgan feels the sale of Antioch Publishing is good for the Antioch Company, which can now focus on Creative Memories’ most rapidly growing business, custom framing and digital scrapbooking. The company currently employs 850 people in the U.S. and eight other countries and reports annual revenues of $250 million. But, Morgan said, the change is likely to have an adverse affect on those employees who worked for the publishing division.

“The reality of the situation has been years sinking into my consciousness, so none of this is a real shock,” Morgan said. “My only distress is about the people whose lives are affected; the move of the business to Indianapolis means that most folks will lose their jobs.”

The Antioch Company’s operations in Yellow Springs are not expected to be affected by the move, as 95 percent of the production in Yellow Springs already relates to the Creative Memories business, though not necessarily to the expanding areas of framing and digital scrapbooking, Morgan said. In addition, the corporate headquarters of the company will remain in the village, Morgan said.

The only other change is an anticipated substitution of all Antioch Company addresses for the new domain name @CreativeMemories.com, since the Antioch Publishing Web site and domain were part of the purchase agreement.

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