Arandell Plans to Close Its Kentucky Printing Plant by the End of July
What a difference two years can make. In March of 2018, Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Arandell Corp. announced that it was expanding to a second manufacturing operation by acquiring the Walton, Ky., printing facility owned by Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Trend Offset Printing, which in turn had purchased the Kentucky plant from Continental Web Press, of Itasca, Ill., in 2016. Fast-forward to the March 2020 onslaught of COVID-19 in the U.S., and the toll it has taken on all types of businesses, including those that market themselves via direct mail and printed catalogs.
Due to the pandemic, Arandell President and CEO Bradley Hoffman announced plans to shutter the Kentucky facility — which is located 20 miles from Cincinnati — by the end of this month, impacting more than 100 workers.
In a statement, he said:
Prior to COVID-19, Arandell had been on pace for a strong year and Arandell Kentucky was playing a key role in that growth and success. Unfortunately, the pandemic has had a significant impact on our customers – many of whom have experienced closures, supply chain disruptions, and complications from stay-at-home orders. These challenges have affected our production schedules which has led to this difficult decision.
Arandell will be consolidating production to its facility in Wisconsin, which will best position the company to continue to meet customer needs while positioning us for long-term success. Our Kentucky facility will ramp down production in the coming weeks, closing operations by July 31, 2020.
I am extraordinary grateful for our team in Kentucky, which had helped establish an exceptional operation over the last two years. We will be working with our employees in Kentucky to offer assistance in continuing employment in Wisconsin and hope many decide to stay with us. We will also do everything we can to ease the transition for our employees who choose not to make the move to Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, the Kentucky expansion proved to be bad timing for the independent, Wisconsin-based printer, which touts itself as operating the single largest web offset catalog printing facility in the U.S. The venerable Arandell Corp. traces its roots all the way back to 1922.
The acquisition of the Kentucky plant in 2018 was intended to enable Arandell to expand its range of service offerings, providing additional formats, more cost-effective services, and a multi-plant footprint for mailing and distribution capabilities.
It also provided Arandell with significant new capabilities and back-up capacity, including:
- Tabloid-size printing
- Double-web output
- Press-pasting and rotary trimming
- Aqueous coating
- 8-color printing
- Log delivery system
- Additional perfect binding
- Additional poly bagging
The Kentucky facility’s added printing and finishing capabilities — for both mail and non-mail jobs, different formats, and press-pasted products — was intended to enable the company to expand its services to B2B customers seeking high-quality, color-critical output.
In conjunction with the 2018 plant acquisition, Arandell also announced a strategic partnership with Continental Web Press to enable it to expand its capabilities into other direct mail products and formats, including variable data printing, digital printing, and press delivered products.
Arandell was ranked No. 51 on the 2019 Printing Impressions 400 list (click here to view the complete ranking) of the largest printers in the U.S. and Canada as ranked by annual sales, reporting revenues of $103 million for its most recent fiscal year and 700 employees. That made Arandell the second largest catalog printer in the U.S. on the 2019 PI 400, only behind Sussex, Wis.-based Quad, which attributed $629.1 million of its $4.194 billion in total revenues to the catalog printing segment. Continental Web Press was ranked No. 143, reporting most recent fiscal year sales of $34.9 million.
In the end, though — despite what appeared to be a sound business growth move in 2018 — Arandell's Kentucky expansion effort has unfortunately become another casualty of COVID-19.