Franklin Mint, The

Franklin Mint, The

Clay, Marianne

Six weeks before Christmas, The Franklin Mint took steps to change the sprawling direct sales company to a Web-only catalog company. About 200 of the company’s 300 employees were dismissed in November, as the company began to create what Franklin Mint spokesman Howard Lucker describes as a “new, smaller business model.” Also expected to disappear are the Mint’s direct-mail catalogs and its full-page, color ads in Sunday supplements and TV Guide.

Since its founding in 1963 by entrepreneur Joel Segal, who went on to found QVC, The Franklin Mint has become known for its collectibles, offering everything from commemorative coins and plates to jewelry, sculpture, and dolls. But the offerings of the new Franklin Mint will not be so broad. Instead, the company will emphasize die-cast vehicles, model airplanes, and Harley-Davidson collectibles. “Dolls,” says Lucker, “will continue to be offered as well.”

Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the dynamic couple who bought the company in 1985 and brought the company much publicity with their purchase of the faux pearls worn by Jackie Kennedy and the white dress and bolero jacket worn by Princess Diana, will remain at the Mint’s helm.

“I want to emphasize that we’re not closing but changing our business model,” Lucker says. “All orders will be processed, and new ones will continue to be taken. all 50 retail shops will stay open for the near future, but the less profitable ones will go.” Also to remain open is The Franklin Mint Museum, located beside the company’s enormous office building in Franklin Center, Pennsylvania. At the museum, visitors can see without charge exhibits of Star Trek memorabilia, collector dolls, the Jackie Kennedy Onassis pearls, and the Princess Diana dress.

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Copyright Ashton International Media, Inc. Mar/Apr 2004

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