FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 7, 2008
CONTACT: Joe Choquette, 802-225-5510
Stinehour Press Announces End of Operations
(Lunenburg, Vt.) Managing Director and CEO Warren Bingham announced today that The Stinehour Press, an award-winning book design and printing firm, will be ending operations and liquidating its assets after more than 50 years of operation in northern Vermont. The company, which had several million dollars in sales last year, employed a staff of 21 highly skilled workers. “Although it’s been lovingly cared for, our offset press equipment is more than 25 years old and lacks many of the digital time-saving devices and speed of newer presses; and we’re behind the technology curve by not yet having adopted fully digital pre-press capability,” Bingham said. “Our sales force estimates that the company had to forfeit several million dollars in business last year because of capacity constraints caused by our old equipment, and we would need to invest at least $3 million to be competitive. In today’s economy, when added to what we’ve already invested in the company, it’s beyond what a small group of committed owners can do. We’re heart-broken that what began with so much hope and represents the hard work and passionate commitment of so many is ending.”
Bingham met with employees on Monday to advise them of the closing. He said workers will be paid for any accrued vacation time and, if possible, will receive severance pay based on seniority as long as the workout plan enables the company to provide it. The company has contacted the Vermont Department of Labor to advise them of the closing, and intends to be proactive in assisting workers in finding new employment.
Founded by the legendary book designer and printer, Rocky Stinehour, the Press operated as a family-owned business until 1998 when it was sold to an Irish multinational corporation. Its customer list includes many of the country’s leading arts and cultural institutions and its alumni include an impressive list of some of the most noted book designers and technicians in the country. Clients include the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Fine Art Museums, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum - 2 - of Fine Art in Boston, the Norman Rockwell Museum, The Getty Museum, the Guggenheim, the Whitney and the Smithsonian. Publishers included Random House,
Little-Brown and many university presses, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton and Dartmouth.
Several years after the initial sale, in 2001, the Irish parent company announced that it was leaving the printing business and planned to close the Press. The current owners, headed by Bingham, bought the business to forestall the closing and in hopes of restoring its prominent position in the book printing world. In addition to significant new capital investment, the new owners strengthened management and systems, rebuilt its sales force and restored its reputation for fine quality work. The company was recently described by the Washington Post as “the premier book printer in the world” and has won more than fifty prestigious awards for design and production quality over the past several years, including back-to-back awards as the SAAPI Printer of the Year of illustrated books in 2006 and 2007. In today’s global economy it was not enough.
“The lines separating author, publisher, printer and distributor are blurring, and digital technology can make China or Reykjavik seem as close as Lunenburg,” Bingham said. “A new kind of book printing industry is evolving that is based on printing shorter runs of more titles including digital print-on-demand. This should bode well for Stinehour Press and our unique blend of art, craft and technology; but it arrives at the same time as we often see books projects from China for less than we can buy the paper. These are not good times for American manufacturers. I hope we know the full cost of what we’re buying as a society. When lowest cost is always the determining factor, it might be higher than we think.”