Maquoketa Web Printing announces sale
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Officials of Maquoketa Web Printing announced today the sale of the company’s customer sales accounts and other assets to a Wisconsin printing firm.
The transaction is effective immediately. It will result in the closing of the 31-year-old Maquoketa commercial printing plant, located at 1287 E. Maple St. in the Timber City Industrial Park, and the elimination of 43 full-time jobs.
The assets were purchased by Lyke Corp. of Ripon, Wis., doing business as Ripon Printers. The transaction was announced jointly by R. B. Melvold, president of Maquoketa Newspapers Inc., the parent company of Maquoketa Web Printing, and by H. Andersen Lyke, president and owner of Lyke Corp.
Employees were notified of the sale on Thursday. Lyke said the firm will offer employment to some employees of Maquoketa Web Printing. Maquoketa Web Printing is working with staff from Iowa Workforce Development and the Jackson County Economic Alliance to assist other employees in securing new jobs.
R.B. Melvold, who is sales manager for Maquoketa Web Printing, said the transaction resulted from the lack of ownership succession of the family-owned business and the decline and consolidation of the printing industry nationwide in recent years. The company is now in its second generation of family ownership. Its owners have reached or are approaching retirement age; third generation family members have chosen careers and life paths that don’t involve commercial printing, Melvold noted.
“We have been privileged throughout our careers of being associated with many caring, dedicated and especially hard working co-workers who made satisfying our customers a top priority,” said Melvold.
“Selling the business after two generations of family ownership has been the most difficult decision we have had to make. At this stage of our lives and with the consolidation happening in our industry, selling to Ripon Printers is the best all-around option. Ripon Printers is a leader in our industry, very well managed and will take exceptional care of our customers,” Melvold added.
“We look forward to serving the excellent customer roster that Maquoketa Web Printing has developed over the years,” said Lyke. “We believe our cultures fit well together and that clients will experience a seamless transition while benefitting from greater capacity, newer technology and a broader suite of services. We hope some of the current staff at Maquoketa Web Printing will join our team at Ripon.”
David Heiar, director of the Jackson County Economic Alliance, noted that closing of a local industrial plant “is always difficult.
“I know this was a difficult decision for the owners and it certainly has an immediate unwanted impact on the local employees and their families. We are concerned about the well-being of these employees and our office will work closely with the company and Iowa Workforce Development to help them find new opportunities. On a positive note, we know that there are other local employers looking for employees,” Heiar said.
“The printing industry continues to evolve and consolidate as more and more information is shared online. Many companies are merging and looking for efficiencies,” Heiar noted. “The decision by Maquoketa Web was based on the soft economy for the printing industry and is not a reflection on the performance of their many long-term employees.”
Maquoketa Web Printing has produced a wide variety of printed materials, ranging from newspapers and advertising circulars to magazines, catalogs, booklets, brochures and hardbound books.
The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Maquoketa Newspapers Inc. Owners, in addition to R. B. Melvold, are his wife, Beth Melvold, and his brothers, Douglas Melvold and John Melvold.
The transaction ends nearly 71 years of continuous ownership and involvement in the newspaper and printing businesses by the Melvold family in Maquoketa and area communities. Maquoketa Newspapers dates back to May of 1946, when Robert and Frances Melvold, natives of Cresco, Iowa, came to Maquoketa and purchased the Maquoketa Community Press weekly newspaper.
Maquoketa Newspapers also previously owned the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press, DeWitt Observer and Bellevue-Herald-Leader newspapers. Those newspapers were sold in October of 2014 to Sycamore Media Corp., whose principals are Trevis and Nancy Mayfield of Maquoketa.
In January 1986, the newspaper’s “central plant” printing operation became a separate division of Maquoketa Newspapers. It adopted the name of Maquoketa Web Printing and moved into the present building in the industrial park. Two additions were built, in 1996 and 2013, to accommodate the need for more press and bindery equipment.
John Melvold has managed plant operations and maintenance at Maquoketa Newspapers and Maquoketa Web Printing since 1980. John’s wife, Mary McAllister, is business manager and joined the firm in 1982. R. B. Melvold has been production and sales manager since 1988. His wife, Beth Melvold, assists in sales and estimating and also joined the business in 1988. Doug Melvold retired in October after 45 1/2 years as a newspaper publisher, editor and reporter, including 35 1/2 years at the Maquoketa Sentinel-Press. He has not been involved in day-to-day operations of Maquoketa Web Printing.
R. B. Melvold will join Ripon Printers as senior outside sales representative.