Walker360 general commercial printer based in Montgomery, Alabama, has acquired select assets from American Printing Co. (APC) of Birmingham, Alabama. The APC facility has been taken over by its bank and Walker360 has reportedly signed a four-month lease to cease APC’s manufacturing operations at 428 Industrial Lane and to properly vacate the facility.
According to Taylor Blackwell, President and CEO of Walker360, APC had been under Chapter 11 protection for six months and was on the way to liquidation of Chapter 7. Walker360 became a “stalking horse” bidder several months ago, and the bankruptcy judge allowed APC to continue operations through October 23, 2019, possibly to seek a higher bidder or try to refinance its debt. Being able to do so, the court cleared the sale of APC’s assets – with no previous debt or obligation – to Walker360, which closed on October 28th.
“As you can imagine, this is very traumatic to the long-time dedicated and loyal employees. Most of them were not paid regularly, nor were their insurance, child support, 401 (k) or other withholdings paid “Blackwell said in a letter to APC’s customer base, noting that as many APC sellers and CSRs as possible were retained to maintain continuity.
“We discover more problems every day and we work very hard to help them. I hurt them,” he added. “While we are not committed to any of the past deficiencies, Walker360 will give them time to find new employment and provide financial support to address some of the past deficiencies. Walker360 will also have some people in our office in Close Birmingham and our Montgomery plant. “
In addition, he used the letter as an opportunity to quell rumors that circulated during the transition period:
- The employees are still coming and we’re still in production.
- All work in progress will be completed, delivered and invoiced.
- We will continue to start new work.
- Any customer inventory that is held is safe. You have time to think about what to do with it and we can discuss options.
- All customer digital files that APC may have are secure and accessible at all times.
- Walker360 stores and maintains past job information and files for reprints.
Blackwell also used the contact with APC’s customer base as an opportunity to highlight the excellence of Walker360, a 54-employee (including six designers), $ 12 million marketing and printing services company who is also SOC and HIPAA certified .
“The Walker360 has the ability to continue to produce whatever work you have done with APC in the past, except for weaving,” Blackwell wrote. “Some areas in which we have more functions are in our POD (print-on-demand) department with several digital printing machines for short-term and variable data work.
“Together with our full-time data staff, online storefronts and our large capacity, we can help our customers in a variety of ways. In addition, our mailing department can handle any type of mailing. With intelligent inkjets and inserters, we are able to do a lot Carry out complicated, complex data / mailing work and ensure process integrity. “
Blackwell also noted that he strongly believes in taking very good care of employees, and that happy employees make happy customers. “I want them to be proud of where they work and love what they do. To that end, we’re doing some very unique things. No employee is paid less than $ 13 an hour (in fact, it’s going to be raised soon). We have a profit sharing plan that has allowed over $ 550,000 in direct cash payments over the past 3 years. We provide a snack hut for our employees where we have unlimited food, drinks and snacks in ours every day Offer break room. “
With more than 75 years of history, Walker360 appears to have found a formula for continued business success, an ability APC apparently lost on the way to starting up as a small print shop for local dealers in 1912. Acquired by Robert “Bo” Stanford in 1992, APC moved into 110,000 square feet. Establishment and grew to 120 full-time employees in the 1990s serving a national clientele.
APC’s national footprint had become a source of pride, and flags representing each state in which customers operated were placed one at a time in its pressroom until all 50 states were represented. Unfortunately to APC, it seems that these flags have long been at half mast.