The Edge Co., a 15-year-old cataloger of high-tech gadgets and gifts, is teetering on the brink of closing. On Sept. 24 the company laid off 48 people — 84% of its staff — keeping just nine employees. And although a 48-page Edge catalog was ready to mail to 1 million customers and prospects as of Sept. 21, president/CEO Bill Rooney decided to shelve the book and reorganize the company due to its “financial situation.” The previous Edge catalog dropped in late May.
The Edge founder Patrick Gaffney sold the Keene, NH-based company to the now-defunct Genesis Direct three years ago. Now owned by Retail Equity Partnerships, a division of GE Investments, The Edge also operates Voyager’s Collection, a catalog of travel-related products that has been distributed in the seatbacks of American Airlines planes. But American chose not to renew its contract with Voyager’s, which expired at the end of September, Rooney says. (American signed with co-op cataloger SkyMall instead.) Voyager’s fate is also being reevaluated.
Currently at least 35 SKUs are on backorder. One exclusive limited-edition product has been backordered since April, due to a problem with the supplier of that item, according to Rooney. Some other backordered items have been cancelled altogether — but customers have been properly treated, he adds.
“We want to take the time to do a proper diagnosis to reposition the catalog,” Rooney says. “We’ve told our people that they’ve been furloughed. Hopefully they’ll be called back.” While The Edge will continue to fulfill catalog orders throughout the season, it will advertise only through its Website.