Geographics quits in Blaine
of Blaines biggest employers will be closing its doors
in the spring, when Geographics Inc. shuts down its manufacturing
We havent been operating profitably, said company president and CEO Jim Dorman. According to the companys most recent quarterly report filed with the federal securities and exchange commission, the companys auditors have raised substantial doubt about the companys ability to continue as a going concern. Management concluded that paring down and consolidating operations in Wisconsin was the best path to keeping afloat.
Most of our product, 72 percent of it, goes to customers east of the Mississippi, Dorman said. The companys biggest customer, Office Depot, is in Florida. It costs us eight cents to ship a 100-pack of paper, our most common product, from Blaine to our eastern customers. We cant be profitable located in Blaine.
The company, founded by Ron Deans in the 1970s, has been financially shaky since at least the mid 1990s. Deans left the company in 1998 amidst allegations of stock manipulation. Dorman took over the reins in a 1999 boardroom revolt to try and get the business back on track.
Dorman said the company will consolidate all its operations at its Waukesha, Wisconsin location, and cut out its manufacturing sector. Well become a design, marketing and sales company and contract out our manufacturing, he said.
The Geographics workforce in Blaine has been shrinking, especially since workers were told of the impending plant closure. We told them in August to minimize the effect on anyone, so they could find other jobs, Dorman said. Weve laid some off because business is down, the rest are by attrition. The company has 106 employees left in Blaine, down from an estimated 250 in 1997. They will be laid off in phases between now and February as operations ramp down. Design marketing and sales staff have been given the option to relocate to Wisconsin.
Dorman said the decision to close the Blaine operation was a difficult but necessary one. We have a very good workforce in Blaine. Theres certainly no liability there. But we have to survive.