Dover Post downsizes, but new building owner adding 40 jobs
DOVER — The Dover Post newspaper is downsizing its space in the capital, making way for textile manufacturer Avalon Industries Inc. and plastic container maker International Container Corp.
Steven Manlove, CEO and president of both Baltimore-area companies, bought the 24,000-square-foot warehouse for $1.4 million in May, according to county land records. Once interior renovations are complete, the manufacturer will bring up to 40 new positions to the state capital.
“There’s some heartburn because we’re leaving people who have worked for years with us behind. But the business climate in Maryland is getting tougher and with our lease up, this was an opportunity we had to jump on,” Manlove told the Delaware Business Times.
Avalon Industries, based in Baltimore, makes bags, straps, covers and more. Among its clients are first responders, major U.S. defense contractors and other commercial clients. International Containers is an injection molding company that currently focuses on disposable containers for laboratories.
Manlove plans on entering into a long-term lease with Gannett, which now owns the Dover Post after merging with longtime owner GateHouse Media last year. The warehouse will be divided into four suites, with 18,000 square feet to be divided up between Manlove’s companies, and the rest going to the Dover Post and its 18-person staff.
“We have been using about 20% of the space we have. We’re excited that we can see this remaining space utilized instead of remaining vacant,” said Amy Dotson-Newton, the publisher and advertiser director of the Dover Post. “It worked out on both sides, that we can continue to be here and see another opportunity for an employer to relocate here.”
Breaking down the space, the Dover Post will retain 3,500 square feet for office space and 2,500 square feet in warehouse space where carriers will get newspapers before they start their routes, according to Dotson-Newton.
The Dover Post was founded in 1975 by Jim Flood, which later added six other weekly newspapers. In 2008, the paper was sold to GateHouse, which owned 144 daily newspapers and 684 community publications. GateHouse also added other Delaware publications to its portfolio like the Middletown Transcript, Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times, Sussex Countian, Milford Beacon and the Hockessin Community News.
GateHouse merged with Gannett last year in a transaction valued roughly $1.4 billion, making Gannett the country’s largest newspaper chain with 261 newspapers in 46 states, including The News Journal based in New Castle.
The Dover Post stopped printing newspapers onsite in 2017. Printing has moved to the News Journal’s Basin Road printing plant, according to Gannett spokeswoman Stephanie Tackach.
By Katie Tabeling