LEWISTON, Maine — Geiger, the producer of the Farmers’ Almanac as well as pocket diaries and calendars, is divesting itself of its printing and manufacturing business after 135 years.
The company’s decision, one influenced by changes in peoples’ behavior wrought by technology, will lead to 75 people losing their jobs, Peter Geiger, the company’s executive vice president and editor of the Farmers’ Almanac, told the Bangor Daily News on Tuesday evening.
Geiger said the company, which was founded in 1878 and moved to Lewiston in 1955, told its employees of the decision on Tuesday.
The company, which is also a distributor of promotional products, currently has about 400 employees, the majority in Lewiston, Geiger said.
While the distribution of promotional products is the company’s core business and has been on the rise, Geiger said the company’s manufacturing business has lost “substantial” amounts of money over the past several years. He said demand for Geiger’s pocket diaries and calendars has decreased as people increasingly rely on smartphones and other technologies.
“It’s a business decision that had to be made,” Geiger said. “It’s sad to not manufacture anymore, but it’s just a reality of a handful of things: The technology changes, the economy and everything that goes with it.”
Geiger said the company is currently in talks to sell its manufacturing assets.
The company will continue to publish the Farmers’ Almanac, though it will no longer be printed and bound in Lewiston, he said. The 2014 edition of the almanac won’t be produced until the fall, so the company hasn’t worked out where it will printed in the future, he said.
He said the layoffs are expected to be made before spring.
Geiger said the company has been “blessed with great workers” over the years, and that the employees who will lose their jobs “will be treated very well,” though he wouldn’t offer more details about severance packages. He said the workforce was the reason his father moved the company to Lewiston in 1955.