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Another economic blow; The closing of Quad/Graphics plant ends proud printing tradition in Depew

It's tough to see longtime Buffalo companies disappear or relocate, which is the case with Quad/Graphics.

The Depew printing plant is set to close by the end of the year, and when it does about 400 workers will lose their jobs. That's another hit to Buffalo's economy and another loss of a company that over the years employed thousands under various names.

The plant was part of J.W. Clement when Arcata Graphics acquired Clement in 1965. In 1993, Quebecor World acquired Arcata Graphics. Quebecor World filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008 and emerged from bankruptcy as Worldcolor Press.

Last August, Quad/Graphics acquired Worldcolor Press and, at the time, executives said the move would benefit the company by offering a more diversified product line. With those encouraging words there wasn't reason to worry, at least not much.

As a union official said at the time, the George Urban Boulevard location seemed well-situated and able to offer something unique to the company with its mass-market paperback production and its location next door to a distribution center for Harlequin, publisher of romance novels.

But, in the end, that didn't seem to make much difference. In December the company announced it was eliminating 95 jobs at the Depew plant. Last week came the announcement that the plant would close in November.

It's been a long road for a company with deep roots here.

Meantime, Quad/Graphics plans to invest more than $15 million in its Martinsburg, W.Va., plant to strengthen the company's book operations there. In addition, it will boost book manufacturing operations at its Leominster, Mass., plant and has announced multimillion-dollar capital investments in digital press technology at its book manufacturing facilities in Fairfield, Pa., and Dubuque, Iowa.

Every plant or business closing, relocation or repurposing is another blow to the local economy. Lives are not so easily transferable and salaries, especially in skilled areas, are not so quick to be replaced. Indeed, this is sad news for Quad/Graphics employees, their families and Western New York.

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