Quad/Graphics to close its St. Cloud printing plant

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Printing giant Quad/Graphics will close its commercial printing operation in St. Cloud at the end of August, putting 280 employees out of work. The decision was announced Wednesday, the St. Cloud Times reports.

The closure comes shortly after the company, based in suburban Milwaukee, purchased Brown Printing Co. of Waseca, Minnesota, for $100 million. The acquisition was finalized in late May, and a company spokesman says the firm is moving quickly to "integrate" the facilities of the two companies, according to the Times.

Quad/Graphics spokeswoman Claire Ho said the decision to close the St. Cloud plant was a "straightforward business decision," and was not a reflection on the quality of the workforce there, Twin Cities Business Magazine reports.

"A large portion of the work in St. Cloud was special interest or short-run publications," Ho said, according to the Times. "We have a large number of plants across our network and a sizable number of those are equipped to do that same type of work."

She said the company will have a hiring manager at the St. Cloud plant this week to inform employees about job openings at other plants, including those in Waseca and Shakopee. Employees who don't find new jobs within the company will receive separation packages, Ho said.

The company is also closing a plant in Woodstock, Illinois, Ho said.

Quad/Graphics' decision is the latest blow to St. Cloud's labor force, according to the Times. Verso Paper closed its nearby mill following a 2012 fire, and scrapbooking company Creative Memories filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and laid off area employees last year.

The Times noted that Quad/Graphics' decision is the largest single employment upheaval in the St. Cloud area since 2002, when Fingerhut laid off 1,200 people.

Local officials told the Times they had no indication or warning that the closure was being considered.

Quad/Graphics took over the St. Cloud plant in 2010 when it purchased World Color, formerly Quebecor World Inc., which had filed for bankruptcy in 2008.

Quad/Graphics is a global provider of print and other solutions for consumer magazines, special interest publications, catalogs, retail inserts/circulars, direct mail, books, directories, and commercial and specialty products, according to the company. It's the second-largest print and multimedia provider in the world.

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