– By DENNIS HOEY
LEWISTON – The publisher of the Farmers’ Almanac announced Tuesday that it will phase out its printing and manufacturing business over the next several months and lay off about 75 employees.
Peter Geiger, executive vice president of Geiger Bros. and the editor of the Farmers’ Almanac, said Tuesday night that employees were told earlier in the day that the company was divesting itself of its printing operations.
The decision to stop publishing small calendars, time planners, pocket diaries and journals at the manufacturing plant in Lewiston will not affect the Farmers’ Almanac, which will continue to be printed by Geiger Bros.
Geiger said publication of the Farmers’ Almanac, which began in 1818, will be handled by a contractor.
“The economy and new technology have taken a toll on the products we manufacture,” Geiger said. “It’s sad because we are talking about the loss of jobs.”
Geiger said technological advances such as smartphones and the Internet have reduced demand for products such as time planners, calendars, journals and pocket diaries.
“Officially, we are divesting ourselves of the manufacturing arm of our company, but it’s also a very small part of our company,” Geiger said.
Geiger said the rest of the company, which specializes in selling promotional products nationwide — products imprinted with company logos –Â is doing well.
Its home office in Lewiston will remain open, providing jobs for more than 300 workers.
The manufacturing layoffs will occur by late spring or early summer.
Geiger’s father, Ray Geiger, moved Geiger Bros. –Â which was established in 1878 by Ray Geiger’s father — from Newark, N.J., to Lewiston in 1955.
“It was one of the great moves of all time,” Geiger said, referring to the company’s longstanding relationship with the city of Lewiston.
Ray Geiger took over publication of the Farmers’ Almanac from a business associate in 1932, soon after he graduated from Notre Dame.
The company is now run by Peter Geiger and his brother Eugene, who serves as president.
The 2013 almanac provides weather forecasts for the United States for the next 16 months. The 200-page publication contains helpful gardening tips, such as average frost dates, and lore such as where the Easter Bunny came from and how to dye an egg naturally.
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: