The question at Palm Coast Data is not how many of the 700 new jobs it promised in November 2008 have materialized. The question is how many of the 1,000 jobs it had at the time are still in existence.
Palm Coast Data isn’t saying. Repeatedly asked about the company’s number of jobs in Palm Coast in person, by phone and by email, going back to last year and as recently as last week, Michael Duloc, Palm Coast Data’s vice president, hasn’t provided the number. The newly created Flagler County Economic Opportunity Council is spending a lot of time talking about preserving jobs and creating new jobs, and visiting the area’s principal economic engines. Palm Coast Data, ostensibly Flagler County’s largest private-sector employer (that title may now have been claimed by Florida Hospital Flagler), is hardly ever mentioned. Barbara Revels, who chairs the council, says she doesn’t know how many jobs there are at Palm Coast Data. Same story at the Palm Coast City Council, where, several years ago, Palm Coast Data was a proud topic of discussion. The city has been mum about it and the company’s payroll numbers since.
The question is pertinent on several grounds. According to the company’s latest financial results, revenue at Palm Coast Data is now less than half what it was in the fall of 2008, when the company signed an agreement rich in tax incentives with the state of Florida, with the city of Palm Coast and with Flagler County, in exchange for the promise of creating new jobs.
In the quarter ending in January 2012, the company’s revenue decreased to $15.6 million, down from $18.35 million in the comparable quarter a year ago—a 15 percent decline. In the quarter ending in October 2008, the company’s revenue was $32.2 million. At the time, Palm Coast Data was one of three magazine fulfillment plants in the country, operating under the Kable Media Services subsidiary, under parent company Amrep Corp. Those plants were consolidated in Palm Coast beginning in the fall of 2008, with the city and Enterprise Flagler, the county’s public-private economic development partnership, claiming a big victory in “saving” jobs and seeding new ones.
Palm Coast was willing to provide the company $450,000 in job-creation incentives, though unlike the state of Florida, the city did not put up the money up front. The money was contingent on actual job creation. The state, on the other hand, floated the company a $3 million cash incentive, which was to be repaid in three years absent actual job creation.
Palm Coast Data is a magazine fulfillment and membership service: it’s where your subscription forms go to be entered and managed. The magazine industry has been in the tank for several years. Titles are shutting down, or reducing publication frequency, or moving to the web. As Amrep’s quarterly financial reports now routinely explain: “Magazine publishers, which are the principal customers of these operations, have continued to be negatively impacted by increased competition from new media sources and also by the effects of the recent recession. The result has been a continuing trend of reduced subscription and newsstand sales, which has caused some publishers to close magazine titles and seek more favorable terms from Palm Coast and Kable and their competitors.”
It hasn’t all been bad: Last year Palm Coast Data landed the contract for Tennis Magazine and Newsweek, and won an extension of its contract with New York magazine and Source Interlink Media, the latter a publisher of 70 titles. The financial trend, however, has been relentlessly downward, with Palm Coast Data parent Amrep recording a loss in earnings in 10 of the last 15 quarters.
Amrep has three subsidiaries: a Amrep Southwest, a real estate company in New Mexico that has suffered greatly from the housing bust; its revenue was zero in the last quarter, compared to $257,000 in the same period last year. Kable Media Services’s newsstand distribuition and product services, which had revenues of $2.5 million the last quarter (compared to $2.2 million a year ago); and Palm Coast Data’s fulfillment operation, now by far the driving force behind Amrep’s overall operations: Palm Coast Data revenue accounted for 73 percent of Amrep’s total revenue in the last quarter.
Amrep is publicly traded. For the first nine months of fiscal 2012, it had a net profit of $488,000, down from $1.5 million for the first nine months of the previous year.
Okay, their revenue is down. Where are their profits? Are they still making money? I interviewed with Palm Coast Data about 9 months ago and was impressed with the route they are taking with digital media and services. They take a lot of heat from the public because the public is not aware of all of their projects outside of magazine subscriptions. I am concerned about the future of PCD but am not anywhere near the alarm factor.
Yes the big question —-what is the bottom line , not the revenue………………
Here is something hilarious for you to read:
Recently they made employees sign a form that said that they are responsible for keeping outsiders from entering the premises or they will be fired. In other words,these minimum wage employees are responsible for making sure that just in case any of the top executives who were recently fired , the ones who were making alot of money, the ones who have been working for this company for forever, and were just fired for no reason at all, the ones who will make nothing from now on, for the rest of their lives, do not get into the building, or else , you the minimum wage employee will be fired. How does this company get away with this ? Can someone please explain this to me?!
Have you ever heard of anything more hilarious than that?!
This isn’t exactly breaking news. This company has been in the crapper for several years now, since the new management took over.
Ben Dover says
So they took the money and received the tax breaks, but no new jobs, nice ,guess the higher ups all got bonuses while the unemployed here in Palm Coast just got boned
JOHN R. says
If this trend continues, Palm Coast will not need a new City Hall. It can simply return to its former offices.
Do you really think our so called “City” leaders will forgo a new multi million dollar “city hall”, paid by Palm Coast home owners( who by the way, have to work out of town to be able to afford our ungodly taxes and mortgages) and do the right thing and move back there?? Right Toto !!
One more costly blunder. Is just pathetic.
Another bad deal from the city, a joke from city management. PCD filled their pockets with $$$ & building & the Taxpayers got screw again. Promises, promises nothing new.
PCD continues to survive. Sure they’ll expand on the digital media, but how many people does that take? Its the customer service representative jobs that are of concern. PCD has lost even more publications in the past four months. They’ve moved their HR department back to the old building across from the customer service building, there offering reps to take up to 12 weeks off because summer is the “slow” season. One wonders how many people that work there can afford to do that? I guess they just work at PCD to earn some spending money .
I know they laid people off in October, than after a couple of months hired them back. Will they be counted as “new employees” for their “job creation”, they shouldn’t be. If the state on the other hand, floated the company a $3 million cash incentive, which was to be repaid in three years absent actual job creation.” Isn’t it time that they need to pay the state back? This company is corrupt. Maybe their getting more bailouts that we don’t know about?
B. Claire says
Sound familiar ?…
The county [Flagler] used a $514,000 federal grant to build a 3,000-square-foot headquarters at the airport for a company called Cakes Across America in exchange for a 20 year lease and the promise of 26 well-paying jobs, and possibly 40 down the line.
Down the line is here. Last week Cakes Across America turned over the keys to its headquarters at the airport and moved out, its promise never fulfilled.
“They owe us money. They have a sub-grantee agreement through a CDBG grant,” County Administrator Craig Coffey said on Saturday, referring to a federal Community Development Block Grant, “they owe us $300,000-some dollars, but we’ll have to take legal action to collect that.”
P.S. Wonder how getting that $300K back is going?
One wonder,s what the company did with the Federal money they received, based on job increases, that they haven’t been able to do. Where’s the accountability here?? Should they be required to pay it back because they can’t fill the job positions that they are required to do. Face it , its 2012 , what state office do we call to see if they met their requirements or paid the money back for the 3 million cash incentive?
Well I do know that Palm Coast Data is cutting peoples hours. I guess it’s so the company can meet their payroll. They are also letting people take weeks of unpaid time off. It is so empty inside the buildings. I’m guessing there may be around 600 or 700 employees working in all 3 buildings. So sad.
Oi oi !! PCD still about then hey !! Good luck to anyone who works there. I am wondering why PCD are still up and running !! Poor wages. I would rather work at a cemetery. At least Ii know half of the staff left there are coming to cemetery’s soon !! Sorry guys for saying that,but it really is an out of date place, which I am sure has better competition in other states fulfilling magazines in a better way.
Well PCD has fired another bunch of their “high” paid people. Thats 4 that got fired last week. Sad company has no loyalty to their long time employees. Sure more will be let go. Between hours being cut and people being let go, I don’t see how PCD can survive much longer.
Loyalty to long-time employees? 3 of the 4 that were fired NEEDED to be fired. 2 of them ran Front End Operations like a concentration camp (no, that is NOT an overstatement), with one of those 2 easily being one of the most disliked people at PCD. Another one was a VP working 95% of the time from her home in Washington DC, hired to bring in more business for PCD, and has brought in… ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!! For once the right people were let go. Keep cutting from the top and you’ll see this place start to turn around. I really wish the people that didn’t work there would keep their mouths shut for once, because none of you have the first clue what’s going on. Is this the greatest place on the planet to work? Of course not. Has PCD been heading in the wrong direction for far too long? Without question. Can we point the finger and certain people for this? You better believe it. Taschler is long gone, and the people he brought in (both “his people” and those from Colorado/Mt. Morris) are slowly but surely being let go. Why? Perhaps it’s because our new President and Vice-President are doing what should have been done when John Meneough called it a career – get people in here who know what the hell they’re doing and actually give a damn about the direction and future of PCD, and let the “little people” do their jobs, because we do them quite well, thank you. Is PCD going to survive? I honestly have no idea, but it’s certainly nice to have just a glimmer of hope for once.
Many of us DO know whats going on.
I agree “buttercup”… they have FINALLY gotten rid of that King/Jones team. Perhaps things will begin to turn around or not.
About time. Now they need to get rid of the nasty obnoxious managers (and supervisors who are scared to death of the managers) in customer service who treat the “little people” like the lowest form of life. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and not like a preschooler with stupid decorations hanging all over the call center. As a 10 plus year employee I know what I am talking about.
Hate those decorations! Looks like a bunch of kindergartners work there. Does not look professional at all.
I feel sorry for the customer service people, they are treated like crap from what everyone tells me. Many long time employees have lost their jobs. I think it is because the company is trying to save money. I was told by one of the mantinace guys that now they have to cut the companys grass (instead of using a lawn service) all just to save money. Many workers have had their hours cut too. All very sad. Look at our parking lot….they are almost 3/4 empty. There are so many empty offices in all 3 buildings. People just are not buying magazines anymore.
They got more today but not the money people they cover each others buts
Happy Star Wars Day says
They let 11 mors go yesterday – 2 from HR!
It was 2 let go in HR and one went down to part time. 3 let go from the warehouse. A few let go from building 3 (the old City Hall building). Also heard that one of the home worker reps was let go to. Around 13 people gone last week. Wonder how many they will take out this week. Scary…….you walk around not knowing if your job will be taken from you. Parking lot is getting more and more empty.
Happy Star Wars Day says
3 More yesterday and 1 this morning…
Who will get the “ax” today?????
No one wants to see anyone lose their job, especially in today’s economy. HOWEVER, take a look at the people they let go. None of these people will be missed, because none of them did anything!! If PCD needs to cut costs (which they obviously do), then at east get rid of the people that need to go, and that’s what they are trying to do. There are too many hard-working people at PCD that deserve better than watching others kill 8 hours a day for a paycheck they don’t earn. If there are more firings coming, let’s hope that the right people continue to be let go. Maybe then the ones who actually work can get more than a 1% raise this year (for once).
I started in 96 at $5.00/hr on May 3rd they let me go what a blessing I got my wish no hard feelings.They let me go say bye to all my friends that was my family after all these years I will pray for everybody else good luck and thanks.
Buttercup why are you focussing on other peoples jobs how long have you worked there?Have you ever thought that those people that were not doing there job were showed that way or maybe there job was eventually eliminated and the great management did not know what to do for these people.Before you throw people under the bus you should look at your position and is your job that important. I wish you luck and everybody there and yes as you said you do not like to see anybody lose there jobs,
Don’t matter how long you have worked for PCD, the company has no loyalty to anyone. You are just a worker. When they don’t need you any more you are kicked to the curb.
sunshine… you are so right. I worked there for 16 years and for the last two years I had my salary cut, my hours cut and I was harassed practically on a daily basis… So, when the blessed day came and I was let go, I have to say it was one of the happiest days in all my working life. That is so sad a commentary for a company that started out back in the late 80’s employing many in the area. It is true they never really paid a great salary, at least for some…. but still , back then it wasn’t a bad place to work. The medical benefits were good and the management were decent people.
They let at least two go on May 15. I don’t know how many, but two that i know of.
I guess it’s safe to say that I won’t be geting a raise this year. I guess nobody will :( Thats sad. Work hard all year and get nothing.
I worked in several departments for PCD from 2000 until 2006. Carol was a good supervisor and was always available for help. Jeanne while she worked for another deparment seemed to me a hard worker and deserves to be where she is. Maryanne….love her. Nuff said. Upper management on the otherhand were very rude, condescending and oppresive.
I was so happy the day I got out of that hell hole call center.
Computer Operations wasn’t much better as far as management goes. We had a supervisor who knew nothing about the job he was supervising, we had a manager who has a son of god complex because his father started the company and would continously curse at employees because somewhere in the contracts he “always has a job” he could do and say what he wanted. Brian would come in tanked to the gills red in the face from the alcohol abuse, crider would cuss you out if you asked him any type of question.
Reading all these names from the past like Russ Sanders (who IMHO was a very nice gentleman), and Todd Hammond with NRA (also a very nice guy and someone I consider a friend) has brought back some fond memories.
If it wasn’t for Carol I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity I had at PCD to grow beyond it. Yes I hated working there because the pay was low and we were treated like children (seriously for years in the computer room you were forced to stand up for 12.5 hours a day) and slaves. But I took my experience at PCD and moved on with my life and left the company in 2006 to work for an Airline as a flight attendant. I’ve made more in 4 months as a flight attendant than I ever did at PCD in a year and my job used to force me to take upwards of 10 to 35 hours a week of extra overtime.
I just found out today that a close family member of mine was let go. That place truly is a sinking ship. For Palm Coasts sake I hope they survive. Me….I’m happy to have taken my experience there to move on to bigger and better things.
so I heard says
So I hear they finally let more people go in HR, finally some that needed to be. What goes around comes around as they say. Wonder how many more will be let go before the company either folds or is relocated.
Yes the got rid of Debbie from HR. I wonder who “walked her out the door and gave her a “good-by” hug”. Thats what she always did to those who were let go. Debbie was a very nice person, she worked at PCD for a long time. You just never know who will get the ax next. So much drama going around. They just need to close the place down instead of “bleeding it dry” little by little.
Don't give up says
Your right Sunshine, Debbie is a great person. She was always there for you when you needed someone to lean on. I personally will always remember her & hope to run into her one day so I can give her a big hug!!! Unfortunately, PCD let all the very people that built that company up from a mom & pop business to one of the best in the industry. (So sad). I hope the Company hangs in there for the rest of the employee’s that are left. My prayers are that PCD builds a strong Client base for the future of Palm Coast and the residents.
my god… is that place still open ?….. glad I got out when I did there is Life beyond PCD and Sludge Coast LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL sink on the rest of ya rats !!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA