Gene Geiger Discusses Decision to End Geiger’s Manufacturing Business

Geiger, the top 50 promotional products distributor based in Lewiston, Maine, announced yesterday that the company will shut down its printing and manufacturing division in 2013. The company’s print business, which began when Geiger was founded in 1878, includes the Farmers’ Almanac and the SunGraphix line of diaries and calendars.

Gene Geiger, MAS, CEO of Geiger spoke with Promo Marketing today to discuss the decision to wind down its manufacturing business and the impact it will have on the company.

“We made a business decision that, given where we stand, given the sales trends, given the money we have to invest in new equipment and new product development … it was too great a risk and too great a cost for too small a part of our company,” he explained. “We decided from a sober business perspective to get rid of something that isn’t our future and focus on what is our future.”

The manufacturing division accounts for less than 10 percent of the company’s business. Geiger noted that despite looking like an easy business decision, it was still a difficult choice to make. “From a business point of view it’s simple. From an emotional point of view, where you care about people who have put their lives in your hands, it’s excruciatingly difficult and sad,” he sad. “We kept it going, logically, beyond where one should have kept it going. But we did it because we are emotionally invested in it and wanted to give it our all.”

While initial reports stated that the company would lay off 75 employees as a result of the decision, Geiger explained that the actual fallout would be less. He anticipated that up to 25 people will be moved into various positions in the company’s distributor business, with some employees already transitioning. Further, manufacturing will not be ending immediately. “My anticipation, given all the work we have in house and that I expect we’re going to get, is that we’ll be producing for as much as the next six months,” he said.

Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.

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