To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the demise of Concepts Direct’s five catalog titles have been greatly exaggerated. According to president Phillip Wiland, a November article in the Boulder County (CO) Daily Camera stating that the $51.6 million multititle mailer would shut its doors at the end of the year was incomplete.
The company will close its doors in Longmont, CO, where it has been headquartered for decades, and the name Concepts Direct will cease to exist. But the Linda Anderson, Garfield Stuff, Music Stand, Colorful Characters, and New Bargains gift catalogs are relocating to Ozark, MO, this month under a newly formed parent company, Direct Retailing.
Concepts Direct launched Colorful Characters in September. The title sells licensed merchandise of such well-known characters as Snoopy, Superman, and Betty Boop. At around the same time it introduced Colorful Characters, Concepts Direct sold stationery catalog Colorful Images to Colorado Springs, CO-based competitor Current USA, a division of $1 billion Taylor Corp. After the sale, says Wiland, “our board of directors formed a special committee to review status and determine the best course of action for the remaining business.” Since Colorful Images accounted for more than half of sales, the existing facility was now too large, and operating costs too high. The committee hired an investment bank to valuate the business and determined that “shareholders were best served by a rapid winding down of operations at the current location,” Wiland says.
Members of management offered to buy the remaining titles and other operating assets “at a price above the range of values established by the independent investment bank,” Wiland says. The committee accepted the offer, and the catalogs will begin to mail under the new ownership in February.
Five Concepts Direct employees, including Wiland and chief financial officer Zaid Haddad, formed Direct Retailing. The new entity, which is selling the 60,000-sq.-ft. Concepts Direct headquarters in Longmont, believes that fulfilling products from Missouri will be cheaper. Concepts Direct employed about 300 workers in Colorado.