N2 Publishing is shutting down its Wilmington facility completely and moving its print production operations to Texas. The firm's location at 5051 New Centre Drive, which was listed for sale for $5 million, is under contract to an undisclosed buyer, according to company officials.
The firm is building a new production facility for about $10 million in Irving, Texas, a city about 20 minutes from Dallas. The new location is expected to be complete by January 2023, said Duane Hixon, CEO of N2 Publishing.
"We’re building a brand new facility with all the latest, best equipment for our full-color glossy publications," Hixon said.
N2, founded in Wilmington in 2004, is the umbrella company for multiple products, including neighborhood magazines under the brand Stroll and Real Producers magazines, which focus on top-producing real estate agents in the communities they serve. The company bought 5051 New Centre Drive
, a two-story, 32,000-square-foot structure on 2.4 acres, for about $1.8 million in 2014.
Hixon said N2, a frequent flyer on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies, has 650 franchisees across its product lines and 300 employees on its payroll, with about 100 in the Wilmington area.
Asked why N2 isn't keeping its production operations in the Port City, Hixon said reasons include that Texas has "everything we need for postage, mailing ... you get better rates than mailing from Wilmington."
It's also harder to find technicians, he said.
"The equipment that we use is pretty specialized so we have to have a specialized set of technicians to repair it," Hixon said.
As a result, he said, Irving is "an efficient spot for us."
The change affects 20 to 25 employees, Hixon said, some of whom have already moved to Texas, while company officials will work to find different roles for others.
Remote working was a big part of the company culture at N2 before the pandemic sent millions of workers across the country to work out of their homes.
"We’ve been set up for work remote for several years. The majority of our team is not in Wilmington; it’s all over the country," Hixon said. "We started in Wilmington and as we’ve grown the format has changed."
That said, the Wilmington portion of the N2 team has been meeting at Port City Community Church and other venues for monthly gatherings. And Hixon plans to continue to live here.
"I love Wilmington. We’ve talked about getting a location again when the time is right, just to have a meeting place for those who are here," Hixon said. "I imagine that will happen in the next year or two. We’re not aggressively seeking a place, but if a spot comes along that interests us, we’ll scoop it up."