The Chamber of Commerce and Scholastic Inc. both celebrate milestones in 2018.
As the Chamber reflects on its 125th anniversary, we celebrate one of the most impactful contributions to Jefferson City: bringing local jobs to our area. The key to a thriving community is maintaining employment opportunities for its citizens. The chamber has always been instrumental in creating industrial parks and attracting new businesses; one of its most successful achievements was the attraction of Scholastic Inc., the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, a leading provider of core literacy instruction and professional services, and a producer of educational and entertaining children’s media. In 1968, Jefferson City was chosen as a new site by Scholastic after a selection committee comprised of company officials toured 50 cities in five states. It was no small effort from chamber staff and volunteers to showcase the building site, the available workforce, and our wonderful community.
The original facility was built on Business Highway 50 East and was dedicated on April 24, 1968. At the dedication ceremony, guest speakers included Governor Warren E. Hearnes, Mayor John G. Christy, and William Quigg, then chairman of the board for the chamber.
In 1983, the Jefferson City facility began a major expansion and became the national distribution center for Scholastic. In that same year, CEO and President Richard Robinson received the key to Jefferson City from Mayor George Hartsfield. Currently, Scholastic is celebrating 50 years in Jefferson City and is the largest private employer in Cole County, providing nearly 1,800 jobs at its peak and operating out of three facilities covering over 1.47 million square feet.
With iconic brands like Harry Potter, The Magic School Bus, Captain Underpants, and Dog Man, in fiscal year 2016-2017 Scholastic fulfilled more than 19 million orders and shipped more than 234 million books and educational products. Customer service representatives handled more than 1.7 million phone calls and 520,000 emails. While Scholastic corporate headquarters is located in New York City, the company’s mission to foster literacy and learning — and “light a spark within each and every child” — is certainly supported through its Jefferson City facilities.
“For five decades, the hardworking residents of central Missouri have played and will continue to play a vital role in the Scholastic mission to distribute the finest educational materials across the globe and help inspire a love of reading and learning in children everywhere,” says Heath Garvin, senior vice president of manufacturing, supply chain, and inventory strategy at Scholastic.
As a company, Scholastic is an exemplary model of community support through its work with local schools, the promotion and encouragement of its employees, and involvement with various service programs including the United Way of Central Missouri, the Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs of Jefferson City, the American Cancer Society, and more.
Jefferson City is truly fortunate to have such a great community partner and employer in Scholastic, and we’re happy to celebrate our two milestone anniversaries together.