Jakprints’ expansion to Eastlake building moving along, hiring delayed slightly

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Custom-printing company Jakprints is moving its apparel and screen-printing division to a former Walmart site in Eastlake, but its fall announcement to hire about 100 employees has been changed.

Founded in 1999 as a company aimed at making it easier for small businesses to order printed materials with less hassle, smaller quantities and better customer service, Jakprints started getting traction from major national players in the music, sports and entertainment industries in the past several years.

This past fall, Jakprints announced plans to expand operations with a move into a former Walmart location in Eastlake. However, a series of unexpected delays, including Walmart’s need to continue operating out of a small part of the building throughout the holidays, forced Jakprints to make some necessary changes including those affecting hiring, a co-owner said.

Jakprints didn’t get keys to the new building until the end of October. As a result, not as many seasonal workers were needed and others who were hired, were let go sooner than expected, said Jed Seifert, a co-owner at Jakprints, which has about 250 employees.

Some employees who thought they would be working longer-term complained about the company’s poor communication on the issue.

“Long story short, we had to hire a bunch of employees and there seemed to be some confusion about them being full-time or seasonal,” said Seifert. “At the end of the day, we realized that we’re going to do some things to minimize the chance of this ever happening again. We will continue to work hard to bring clarity to all of our employees about expectations of employment, whether its seasonal or full-time,” he said.

“With any company that needs to staff up for the holidays, whether it’s a printer, UPS or Amazon, you’re going to have some seasonal employees brought in for a couple of months who are going to want to keep their jobs, and it’s not always a reality,” he said.

In the past, Jakprints has run most of its manufacturing and administrative operations from two buildings in Cleveland’s Midtown area. The company also has an office in California. But as the company has grown, more manufacturing space was necessary, particularly for the apparel merchandising business.

Seifert, who is in charge of business development, said the company is six months behind in the anticipated move.

“Our hiring process was delayed not because we wanted to, but because we had to put it on hold,” he said.

astlake Mayor Dennis Morley said that miscommunication in the hiring process was unfortunate.

“When people read that Jakprints was coming in, some people must have thought it was going to be full-time,” Morley said. “I went to one of their hiring events; I know they talked about it being seasonal. It may have just been unclear with some people.”

Seifert says the hiring challenges have unfortunately detracted from the company’s positive growth plans, including an announcement from Fanatics Inc. just two weeks ago. The company announced a new five-year partnership deal that will allow Jakprints to support the domestic production needs of Fanatics, the world’s largest distributor of licensed sports merchandise, which holds apparel and fan gear licenses with all major sports leagues and hundreds of professional and collegiate partners.

Seifert said Jakprints is ready to move forward with its growth plans, in hopes of hiring a lot more full-time and seasonal people in the next few years.

“When you say you’re going to hire 100 people, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be today. It was a plan for a couple of years. We hope to have 400 people in a few years.”

Jakprints closed out 2017 with about $26 million in annual revenue, according to a previous Plain Dealer article.

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