LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The twin cities are losing jobs as a major employer shifts focus. Geiger Brothers, in Lewiston, says is shutting down their manufacturing division... Putting some 75 jobs are in peril.
Geiger Brothers first started manufacturing products in Maine including its legendary Farmer's Almanac back in 1878. But that side of the business will soon be shutting down.
The Farmer's Almanac is not going out of print. The original version of the book still sells about a million copies per year and is printed out of state. Sungraphix, the manufacturing division of Geiger, prints calendars, address books, and smaller versions of the Farmer's Almanac to different companies that use the items as promotional products. But it's a part of the business that just isn't making money anymore.
Gene Geiger told NEWS CENTER late this afternoon that the business has lost millions of dollars in recent years producing those products, and with the popularity of smart phones, tablets and PC's, demand for the product has dropped significantly in the past five years. 300 employees currently work in Lewiston. Geiger estimates that 75 of them will be laid off, but that number could change.
Geiger is looking to sell the division, either as a whole, or in parts to different buyers. But those buyers would likely absorb the business into existing manufacturing companies out of state.
The facility will remain open through the spring and possibly the summer to finish the orders that were already placed.
Geiger says they will now focus on the distribution side of the business, which he says remains strong. The company sells mugs, pens, t-shirts and other products and those sales remain strong. Geiger says by focusing on distribution, it should help avoid more layoffs.