Longtime Freeland label manufacturer files for bankruptcy

Interstate Label Company, a longtime label manufacturer in Freeland, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on June 30.

The business had struggled for years, so the decision was made to liquidate assets, said the company’s president, Cliff Bjork.

In 2005, Bjork purchased Interstate Label, which was started in 1971, from Martin Schmidt.

“Business had declined since 2008 with the fall of the economy,” said Bjork this week. “It was overcapitalized, so it got into financial difficulties.”

On May 17, Bjork sold the property, which is located on Main Street, between Harbor Avenue and Newman Road, to All Island Storage for $1.1 million.

The property is 3.04 acres. The light blue industrial building that housed the label company is 16,000 square-feet, according to the Island County Assessor’s Office’ website.

Although the space appears well-suited for a storage company, All Island Storage owner Nathan Davis said that isn’t his plan for the building.

“We have no plans of storage development there, it was just a real estate investment,” Davis said.

After filing for bankruptcy and selling the property, Bjork said he is focusing on his other label company, Birch Labels. It’s also located inside the Freeland building he sold to Davis; he’s renting 6,000 square feet of space.

As sole proprietor of Birch Labels, Bjork said he purchased some of Interstate’s contents and printing equipment.

Bjork says Birch Labels offers the same services as Interstate Label Company.

When Bjork first purchased the business in 2005, he estimates the company’s annual revenue was between $2-$2.5 million. At its peak, he said Interstate employed as many as 20 people.

The company had six employees when the company filed for Chapter 7.

Bjork said “many” of the Interstate employees were hired to work for Birch Labels.

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