Archive for Thursday, February 22, 2007

Kingston finds Eudora fit to print

February 22, 2007

Dick Johnson's two-year search for a new building ended Friday, when the Lawrence businessman closed on a deal that will bring his printing company and more than 40 jobs to Eudora.

Johnson, owner of Kingston Printing Inc., is buying the former manufacturing home of M-Pact Worldwide at 1310 Kistler Drive in the Intech Business Park along the north side of Kansas Highway 10.

Dick Johnson, owner of Kingston Printing Inc., is buying the former
M-Pact Worldwide plant at the Intech Business Park in Eudora.
Johnson planned to close the deal Friday morning and have all his
company's equipment and about 40 jobs relocated to the site within
six weeks.

Dick Johnson, owner of Kingston Printing Inc., is buying the former M-Pact Worldwide plant at the Intech Business Park in Eudora. Johnson planned to close the deal Friday morning and have all his company's equipment and about 40 jobs relocated to the site within six weeks.

The building, at 40,000 square feet, will be more than twice the size of Kingston's existing space now spread throughout three buildings along Delaware Street in southeast Lawrence.

All 24 Kingston employees already have consented to work eight miles down the road, sealing the deal that will give Johnson's space-starved operation plenty of room to expand through relocation.

"This gives us a chance to grow not only for what we need today, but gives us a chance to grow into the future," he said.

Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle said he was delighted Johnson chose Eudora, especially in light of Blue Collar Press leaving Eudora for Lawrence two years ago.

"I'm very happy for the people who were able to sell the piece of property and also very happy for the printing company coming here," he said. "Perhaps some of their people would like to move to Eudora."

Pyle added that the move could mean jobs for Eudora residents.

Kingston's sales ballooned by 34 percent last year, to nearly $4 million, as its commercial printing customers in Lawrence, Topeka and Kansas City continued to sign on for more work. Among the company's printing jobs: game-day programs and media guides for the Kansas City Chiefs, the annual chancellor's report for Kansas University and a variety of corporate publications for Hill's Pet Nutrition and other clients of Callahan Creek, a Lawrence-based marketing and advertising agency.

The rising workload had left Kingston without enough room to keep up, even with employees working two shifts a day, Johnson said. His search for expansion space in Lawrence -- either by occupying an existing building or building a new one -- failed to produce a workable plan.

Johnson did not disclose the purchase price, other than to say it was less than $1.4 million for the 5.2-acre site and building. Once the sale closes, he plans to start moving his presses, binders, folders and other equipment into the Eudora complex.

He anticipates hiring another seven or eight employees during the next year to work at the center, which has room to install two new six-color presses should the need arise.

The building became available once BSN Medical Inc., which purchased M-Pact last summer, shut down the last of the center's operations late last year. That move eliminated 67 jobs.

Alex Davies, BSN's vice president for finance operations, said that the company was pleased to be selling the property so soon, and to a buyer plenty excited about having room to grow.

"From our perspective, you don't want a building still empty for any apparent reason," Davies said. "It's nice to sell it and move on with life."

-Patrick Cady contributed to this story.

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