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Quad/Graphics facility in Evans wraps up work

Posted: December 20, 2015 - 12:00am

The presses are stopping this month at a long-standing Evans printing plant.

Officials with the Columbia County Economic Development Authority on Wednesday said a “major portion” of the employees at Quad/Graphics stopped working Friday at the 4301 Evans to Locks Road facility.

Prior to the announcement in November that the corporation was closing the plant, there were 250 employees. The plant had 700 employees seven years ago.

Robbie Bennett, the executive director of the Columbia County Development Authority, said only 19 workers will remain after Jan. 3 to decommission the 650,000-square-foot facility.

The Wisconsin-based printing company made the shutdown announcement a day after reporting a $552 million quarterly loss to the SEC and its investors. Three other facilities are closing this year as part of a $100 million cost-reduction program. The other facilities are in Connecticut, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

Joel Quadracci, the president and chief executive officer, said the company will have closed 31 plants since its 2010 acquisition of World Color.

Members of the authority said during its monthly meeting Wednesday that they believe nothing could have been done by the county to prevent the closure.

The Evans plant, built by W.F. Hall Printing Co. in 1981, specialized in retail advertising inserts and catalogs. Over the years, it printed catalogs for Montgomery Ward, Victoria’s Secret and L.L. Bean.

Quad/Graphics officials said they will sell the facility.

Bennett said his office has been receiving inquiries about the facility even as production is winding down.

He said the nearby former Kennametal tool plant got a showing to a prospect because of the coming Quad/Graphics vacancy.

“What that tells me is Columbia County is a viable business community and we need product,” he said. “We’re getting a lot more looks just from this facility coming on the market.”

According to Columbia County property records, the plant is valued at $14.2 million.

Jan. 3 was the shutdown date specified in the company’s mass layoff notice filed with the state.

“We’ve had between 20 and 25 companies reach out and want Quad/Graphics employees,” Bennett said. “They are a valuable commodity. They are a skilled workforce.”

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