Junk mailer thrives amid Post Office problems

Direct-mailer Com-Pak Services today said it has completed a 50,000 sq ft addition to its Moorestown plant (now totals 175,000 sq ft), boosting capacity to 600 million letters a year, from 400 million. Higher U.S. Postal Service prices are driving more corporate mailers to Com-Pak presses, says Clif McDougall, boss of the private-equity-owned firm: “Postal rates have been going up each year faster than inflation,” and his company makes it easier to do mass mailings for less, he says, (More on Com-Pak at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/Private-mailer-Com-Pak-expands-hires.html).

Thank the national bulk-rate mailing structure, which means you pay less per item when you send a lot more items. “Alone, they could only achieve a certain amount of discount,” McDougall says of his corporate customers (he declines to confirm that Comcast, Verizon or AARP use Com-Pak, but adds that he works “with the lrgest companies in each of those industries.”) “When we bring all the equipment together, we gain economies of scale and achieve a large discount from the Postal Service, which gives us a lower price.”

Com-Pak offers a one-stop shop for direct mailings: You email them the text and maling list information, Com-Pak prints the order and brings it to the post office. The company says it employs more than 100 in Moorestown and about 300 at its recently acquired Maryland plant. “Direct mail is primarily a domestic industry. Thes are good jobs,” he says, with competitive pay, rising to above $20 an hour for experienced and skilled operators, though with lower medical and retirement benefits than the Post Office or big unionized companies.

A cloud on McDougall’s horizon: Anti-junk-mail legislators in New Jersey have proposed a “Do Not Mail list, like the Do not call lists,” McDougall told me. He says the proposal would be “very detrimental to New Jersey. It would cost a lot of jobs.” Would he shout the Moorestown plant? “It would have an impact on our future plans.” 

"Nobody is rushing this legislation," said Sen. Jeff VanDrew, D-Cape May, a sponsor of the Do Not Mail legislation. "People get a whole lot of junk mail they don't want. Senior citizens complain, they get information they'll think it's risque." But he acknowleges the concern from corporate mailers. 

"I was a prime sponsor of the Do Not Call list; telemarketing is worse, and that's still a problem, we want a fraud unit in the Attorney General's office," VanDrew added.  But he acknoweldges concerns from complaines like Com-Pak. "We're willing to hear from everybody about it. We're going slow." 

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