Creative Memories building— Auctioneer offers purchase
- Published: January 31, 2013
The Antioch Company drafted a contract last week to sell its facility on East Enon Road to International Auction and Appraisal Services Worldwide, an industrial auctioneer and property manager based in Shrewsbury, Pa. The parties are currently completing a review of the property and hope to finalize the agreement by March of this year, according to IAAS President Alan Loeser last week.
IAAS intends to maintain the leases with the two businesses that currently occupy the former printing company building, eHealth Data Solutions (e-HDS) and Antioch University. Loeser hopes to market the remainder of the facility to one or more additional occupants in need of industrial production space and/or warehouse space. The leasable space includes 20,000 square feet ideal for light manufacturing and a 40,000-square-foot warehouse with 30-foot ceilings.
The Antioch Company (and its sole subsidiary Creative Memories) has been looking for a buyer for the building since the company moved the last of its scrapbooking operations from Yellow Springs to St. Cloud, Minn., last April, according to Mark Lerud, vice-president of operations for Creative Memories. The previous year the company accepted a $30,000 loan from the Village of Yellow Springs to divide the section of the building designed for professional offices and then leased part of the office space to e-HDS and the rest of it to Antioch University.
According to Loeser, the Antioch Company had contracted with IAAS to auction some manufacturing equipment from the facility in Minnesota. When Creative Memories shut down its operation in Yellow Springs, IAAS agreed to auction over 100 pieces of equipment from the local facility as well, including printing presses, industrial imagers and inserters. The online auction is scheduled to take place March 11–15, with a preview event at the Dayton Street site March 7–8.
When Loeser learned that the facility in Yellow Springs was for sale, he thought it could be a good investment. He also relates to Yellow Springs as a small Midwestern town, he said.
“I came from a small town, I like small towns — plus part of the building was already leased, which could help pay for it,” he said.
In addition to its auction business, IAAS manages a select handful of properties in Baltimore, Utica, N.Y., and Shrewsbury, Pa. Loeser sees his real estate purchases as an investment in the communities where they are located, he said last week.
“We don’t get and run — we’re looking to become part of the community, rent the building, and be there for a long time,” he said. “If it makes sense and you can get renters, you can make some money and do a good thing for the town.”
The current tenants can expect to stay just where they are, as IAAS begins looking for additional tenants, Loeser said. The company sent Pat Perry, vice-president of operations, to the village last week to talk to the existing tenants about the pending ownership transition and to meet with economic development groups in the area to investigate marketing the industrial side of the building. Eventually, the company will hire an on-site property manager to handle the day-to-day facility needs.
The well-being of the current tenants was and is a factor in the Antioch Company’s decision to sell, according to Lerud.
“The tenants’ interests have always been considered, and [IAAS] certainly likes the fact that tenants are in the building and wants to see them stay,” he said.
But the sale isn’t final yet, Lerud said.
“There’s a lot of road between where we’re at and turning over ownership of the building,” he said. “From our standpoint it’s early in the process, but we hope to keep moving forward.”
Creative Memories was founded in 1926 as the Antioch Bookplate Company and grew from a printer of bookplates to a manufacturer of scrapbooking materials. Market shifts over the last decade drove the company into bankruptcy in 2008, followed by a significant downsizing. Though it shrank from annual revenues of $350 million in 2003 to $100 million in 2012, the company still employs about 380 workers and maintains offices in Minnesota and four countries outside the U.S.