Lee Newspapers move to Canajoharie | News

The family-owned news publisher plans to move from its 60-year-old home in Palatine Bridge to Canajoharie to accommodate changes in the space.

Over the past two years, the company has phased out its internal printing activities. Publications such as Country Folks, RockRoadRecycle and Wine & Craft Beverage News are now printed by Pennsylvania-based Engle Printing & Publishing Co., Inc.

“We just don’t need this massive building anymore,” said Janet Stanley, general manager and president of Lee Newspapers.

Five additions were built after Frederick Lee, Stanley’s father, purchased the old site in 1964. The 11,100-square-foot space is currently listed at the market price of $649,000.

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More than 40 employees are expected to move to the second floor of the Spraker Bank building, while the Palatine Bridge location remains on the market.

“Unless, through some great opportunity, someone just can’t handle it and needs it tomorrow, then I’ll move even sooner, but we’re moving whether this building sells or not,” Stanley said.

Stanley has not yet set a move date, but noted it will be sometime between Thursday and Monday.

The second floor of the Sprakers building has been under renovation for six months. Currently, company officials are working to get a server up and running after a six-month renovation.

Wagner Square

Wagnerplein in the village of Canajoharie, May 11, 2024.

The family already owns the building. Lee, who died in late 2023, bought the historic building eight years ago to open an 8,500-square-foot Christmas tree store on the first floor.

Located at Wagner Square, a historic intersection that was once home to the community’s so-called Dummy Light, the site is in the village’s business district.

“I think it will be a really nice blessing for the community to see bodies walking around Canajoharie on their breaks and lunch breaks,” Stanley said.

Canajoharie has not been home to a news publishing operation for decades. Even the last local newspaper, the Courier-Standard-Enterprise, was based in Fort Plain before moving operations to Amsterdam. That weekly title was purchased by the Daily Gazette Co. in 2019. and deleted in 2021.

Unlike CSE, Lee Newspapers’ current audience spans the entire East Coast. In the 21st century, the company has mainly focused on agricultural fairs and trade publications.

“We are known as Country Folks to many farming communities around us, but for the most part the general (local) population just looks at us and can’t figure out what we do,” Stanley said.

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Spanning its nearly six-decade history, Lee Newspapers (formerly Fred Lee Pub. Co.) once owned a number of penny savers, in addition to daily newspaper titles in Cooperstown, Saugerties and Cobleskill. Much of the company’s consumer products were sold to American Publishing Co. in 1996. because, according to Stanley, the owner had seen the ‘writing on the wall’.

Lee was still angry after American Publishing decided to stop publishing his former product, the Mohawk Valley Pennysaver. In response, he launched the Original Mohawk Valley Pennysaver.

“And the people we were selling to didn’t really like us using the name, even though they had stopped publishing, so we switched to Country Editor for a number of years,” Stanley said. “Consumer paperwork is such a struggle right now, so it just wasn’t feasible.”

Closing the printing press was also difficult for Lee, Stanley recalled. About fourteen employees were laid off, some of whom had been with the company for years.

Towards the end of the run the press rolled twice a week. The technology was archaic and required more than five specialized press workers to operate the equipment.

“We had guys climbing all over the place, shouting down and saying, ‘do this, do that and do that,’” Stanley said. “It was partly because of our press age that we couldn’t do this economically.”

In addition to publishing, Lee Newspapers still has a commercial printing division, producing materials for businesses such as signs, postcards and vinyl banners. Some of the materials are made in-house.

“It just depends on a lot of factors,” Stanley said. “We have a very good digital printer that we run a lot of things through, but when larger quantities are needed, or when we have to do direct mailings for anyone, we tend to write them down so that the job gets done is. a source.”

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