Abbey Press will close two of its main divisions, Trade Marketing and Printing, in mid-2017. The Publications division, which produces the “CareNotes” line of booklets, Elf-help and other books, and Deacon Digest magazine, will remain open. The closings, which will affect 71 full-time and part-time staff, will be completed by June 30, 2017. Those affected will receive generous severance packages along with employment and counseling services to assist with the transition.
Archabbot Kurt Stasiak, OSB, made the announcement Dec. 1. “The Press has had a long, rich history of service and outreach to people of faith, and our co-workers are very proud of that,” Stasiak said. “It’s heartbreaking to see so many lose their jobs when they have tirelessly devoted their lives to this place and its mission.” Abbey Press has been printing and marketing Christian books and gifts for nearly 150 years and at the height of its success employed 300.
In recent years, Abbey Press has struggled to overcome the challenges of a competitive marketplace, including rising costs, changing technology, overseas suppliers and declining print and religious gift store markets. Abbey introduced new marketing, products and suppliers, and made cost-saving efforts, to improve the bottom line, but even with added cuts and downsizing, it could not reach sustainable profitability in all of its sales divisions.
A work of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana, Abbey Press started in 1867 when the monks purchased a secondhand printing press for the use of the monastic community. The press grew to become a major source of support for the archabbey and became an international marketer and manufacturer.