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Abbey Press to Close

abbey-tradeAs reported yesterday morning at Inside Indiana Business:

By Alex Brown, Multimedia Journalist
ST. MEINRAD – Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Spencer County has announced layoffs at its Abbey Press unit. In a notice to the state, the archabbey says 71 employees will be out of work following the closure of the Abbey Press trade marketing and printing divisions, which is expected to take place in mid-2017.The layoffs are expected to begin in February and continue in stages until the end of June. Saint Meinrad Archabbey says the two divisions have been printing and marketing Christian books and gifts for nearly 150 years. The publications division of Abbey Press will remain in operation.

The archabbey says the challenges of a competitive marketplace, such as rising costs, changing technology and declining religious gift store markets, led to the closure.

“The Press has had a long, rich history of service and outreach to people of faith, and our co-workers are very proud of that,” said Archabbot Kurt Stasiak. “It’s heart-breaking to see so many lose their jobs, when they have tirelessly devoted their lives to this place and its mission.”

The employees affected by the layoffs include full-time and part-time workers. The archabbey says they will receive generous severance packages, along with employment and counseling services.

A much longer piece appeared at Printing Impressions, which emphasized the closing of the other (printing) division is shown below in part:

ST. MEINRAD, Ind. — December 6, 2016 — Unfortunately, belief in some form of divine intervention won’t save the jobs for 71 full- and part-time printing workers whose jobs will be eliminated here by the middle of next year. According to a Dec. 1 press release issued by Saint Meinrad Archabbey, after nearly 150 years of printing and marketing Christian books, cards and gifts, Abbey Press will close two main divisions — Abbey Press Printing and its Abbey Press Trade Marketing wholesale business — by mid-2017. The Publications division, which produces the CareNotes line of booklets, Elf-help and other books, and Deacon Digest Magazine will remain open, but that work will likely be outsourced…

…In keeping with its roots of ownership by the Bendectine monks at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Abbey Press lay workers were referred to as co-workers, rather than employees. More than half reportedly had been employed there for over 25 years, including multiple generations of the same families. Displaced co-workers will all receive severance packages, and employment and counseling services, according to Saint Meinrad Archabbey.

Archabbot Kurt Stasiak made the announcement, explaining that the decision was not easy. “The Press has had a long, rich history of service and outreach to people of faith, and our co-workers are very proud of that. It’s heart-breaking to see so many lose their jobs, when they have tirelessly devoted their lives to this place and its mission,” he said.

Abbey Press has struggled to overcome the challenges of a competitive marketplace, according to the Bendectine monastery. Those challenges have included rising costs, changing technologies, competition from overseas suppliers, and a decline in print and religious gift store markets. In response, new marketing, products and suppliers, along with other cost-cutting efforts, were introduced to improve the bottom line. “However, even with added cuts and downsizing, sustainable profitability with all of its sales divisions could not be reached.”  …

For our store, Abbey Press had become our core giftware supplier over the past few years. As a Catholic-based company, they nonetheless were able to get the Evangelical market which characterizes non-Catholic Christian bookstores. Many of the gifts for Weddings, Baptisms, First Communion and Confirmation were among our bestsellers, as well as the ever-popular mugs with saucers that could also be used as lids.  

In Canada, Abbey Press was distributed for many years by Augsburg-Fortress and was part of the package when that company was purchased by the management group of David C. Cook Canada, now known as Parasource.

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