When 100% employee-owned bookmaker Thomson-Shore, based in Dexter, Mich., Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 25, 2019, it did so in intends to sell its assets to CJK Group, based in Brainerd, Minnesota, as opposed to restructuring or outright liquidation of the company. At the time, CJK Group stepped forward and offered Debtor-In-Owner Financing (DIP), which allowed Thomson-Shore to continue to operate throughout the bankruptcy process and position CJK Group as preferred bidder for Thomson-Shore assets.
On April 29, 2019, without any other bidders, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan awarded the assets of the digital and offset softcover printing and short- and medium-run hardcover books operation to the CJK Group.
âThese are tough times for our industry,â said Chris Kurtzman, CEO of CJK Group. in a better position to help book publishers produce quality documents in a timely manner.
Over the past month, the CJK Group integration team has been able to analyze Thomson-Shore’s customer base, finances, equipment and human resources. This was a key step in allowing CJK Group to determine what to do with the Thomson-Shore Dexter production facility, equipment and future employment opportunities for some of the 177 employees. who were working there when he declared bankruptcy.
Thomson-Shore is Michigan’s third book printer purchased by CJK Group. In early 2017, Chelsea-based Sheridan Books was acquired as part of the overall purchase of The Sheridan Group. And most recently, in October 2018, Dickinson Press, located in Grand Rapids, was secured in an asset transaction from Blackford Capital.
With three book manufacturing sites with very similar capacities and located so close to each other, CJK Group has decided to consolidate operations. As a result, most of the operations and equipment of Thomson-Shore Dexter will be transferred to Sheridan’s facilities in Chelsea, Michigan, where the construction of a 25,000 square foot building. the expansion had started last fall. Originally intended to be used as a warehouse and storage facility, the Chelsea facility expansion is instead converted to accommodate Thomson-Shore production operations, and the Dexter site will ultimately function as a satellite warehouse for the Chelsea facility. . The remainder of Thomson-Shore’s equipment that is not transferred to Chelsea will be transferred to Sheridan’s location in Grand Rapids, Michigan, or CJK Group’s Bang Printing plant in Brainerd, Minn.
According to Susan Wiercinski, vice president of marketing, CJK Group’s integration team is still figuring out exactly what equipment will be moved where, but revealed that a Timsons book press and a number of lines of binding would be moved from Dexter to Operation Sheridan Chelsea. Other smaller equipment will be distributed to all CJK Group manufacturing sites. The plans are to use the majority of the 131,000 square feet. Dexter is planting as warehouse and storage space, and office space will be leased if a tenant can be found, she added.
Over 100 Thomson-Shore workers have been offered jobs
Wiercinski also said Printing fingerprints that offers were made to over 100 staff primarily from production operations (and a handful of front office staff) at the former Thomson-Shore to join the CJK Group and relocate their jobs about six miles from there Chelsea plant once expansion and equipment moved Has been completed. Although some people have chosen not to join the CJK Group, she said the main goal is to keep the ongoing work for Thomson-Shore customers on track and to keep employment for so many workers. from Thomson-Shore as possible.
The retention in employment of these former Thomson-Shore employees who obtained positions within the CJK Group is certainly good news, given that their actions in the Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) of the bankruptcy of Thomson -Shore have no cash value.
Formerly led by Kevin Spall, Thomson-Shore was ranked # 172 on the most recent 2018 Printing fingerprints 400 list of the largest printers in the United States and Canada ranked by annual sales volume. The company had reported revenue of $ 28 million in its most recent fiscal year, an increase of 7% from the previous year. (Click here to access all Printing fingerprints 400 list.)
As a private company, CJK Group chooses not to make its annual sales public for inclusion on the PI 400, but maintains a national portfolio of printing and publishing related services; accomplishment; and technologies at the service of publishers of books, magazines, catalogs and journals.
Based in Brainerd, Minn., Its large geographic footprint includes: Bang Printing (Brainerd, Minn.); Hess Print Solutions (Brimfield, Ohio); Sentinel Printing (St. Cloud, Minn.); Sinclair Printing (Los Angeles and Palmdale, California); Sheridan (Hanover, Pennsylvania; Hanover, NH; Chelsea, Michigan; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Waterbury, Vermont; and Boston); and Webcrafters Inc. (Madison, Wisconsin).