CJK Group to Acquire Assets of Fellow Book Printer Thomson-Shore; Some Workers to Be Rehired

Someone could easily author a book documenting all of the consolidation that’s occurring within the book manufacturing industry. And now, reports from news outlets in Michigan that Thomson-Shore, located at 7300 W. Joy Rd. in Dexter, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 25 in the Michigan Eastern Bankruptcy Court adds yet another chapter to the consolidation saga.

According to a report in Crain’s Detroit Business and a legally mandated WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) filing with the state of Michigan, all 177 employees at the short- to medium-run digital and offset soft cover and casebound book printing operation will be let go on May 6. However, less than half of the existing workforce will be rehired should a tentative agreement for Brainerd, Minn.-based CJK Group to acquire Thomson-Shore’s assets come to fruition once the Thomson-Shore bankruptcy filing receives court approval.

Despite the fact that all shares in the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) held by the workers at the 100% employee-owned Thomson-Shore will have no monetary value, some of the plant’s workers will be rehired. Formerly led by Kevin Spall, Thomson-Shore was ranked No. 172 on the most recent 2018 Printing Impressions 400 list of the largest printers in the U.S. and Canada ranked by annual sales volume. The company reported $28 million in sales for its most recently completed fiscal year, a 7% increase over the prior year. (Click here to access the complete Printing Impressions 400 list.)

Current Thomson-Shore President Pete Shima had just been appointed to that position on Jan. 8, 2019, to try to turn around the financially troubled company. With more than 35 years of industry experience, Shima had formerly held senior positions with Malloy Inc. and, most recently, with the combined operations of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Edwards Brothers Malloy.

“I was hired to try and do what I could to keep the company going,” Shima reportedly told OnMain.Today in a locally published article. “The signs were all there that they were in trouble. The company was financially not doing well. I knew coming in that there was a risk that that something could happen.

“Prior to my coming on board, the company was experiencing heavy losses,” he added. “In spite of our best efforts, it had just gone too far. There will be people still here, making books, printing books and binding books,” OnMain.Today reported Shima as saying. “Hopefully that’ll be a good-sized group of people, but we just can’t say because we’re not the ones in control.”

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