If a map-maker can become a local institution, Jimapco Inc. did it.
If you’ve ever used a printed map of a Capital Region community, there’s a good chance it came from the small building on a little-developed stretch of Route 9.
But 50 years after its founding, the second generation of the Fisk family to run Jimapco is ready to fold its last map, though others will take up the business components.
“My wife and I are ready to retire, so it’s time for some changes,” said David Fisk, the company president. “Fortunately our longtime employees want to keep Jimapco moving into the future, so we are delighted to report that the business will essentially continue — just at different locations and under different leadership.”
The retail store at 2095 Route 9, just south of Round Lake, will close on Friday.
The map business has changed in recent years with most people having ready access to road maps on their phones and tablets. Walk-in business at the flagship store has declined, but company Vice President Christina Fisk said map-making is still very much alive.
“Our customer map business has become much more significant,” she said Wednesday. “We’re able to layer information onto any kind of a regular map so the customer can see the relationship between demographics and certain sales.”
Much of that mapping is now done online, though Jimapco continues to sell detailed print maps of a region stretching from Maine to New York, with regional maps continuing as far south as Virginia.
Paul Hein, the company’s cartographic and production manager, will assume ownership of the cartography division, continuing the creation of the company’s retail and custom maps.
“One of our customers says ‘One map is worth a thousand spreadsheets.’ The cartographic sensibility — really understanding how to make a real map, is where our team truly excels,” said Christina Fisk, who is also the company’s general manager.
Sherri Odell, who helped manage the retail operation, will assume Jimapco’s brick-and-mortar store function as part of her new retail store, Wilderness, Water & Woods in Parkwood Plaza at 1758 Route 9. That store opened last week.
Odell will also manage the Jimapco online store and house accounts. The direct-store delivery operation was sold in 2013 to Jimapco Distribution Services, an independent company, and that will also continue.
Jimapco was started in 1966 by Jim Fisk, who was already well-known as the host of the Freihofer “Breadtime Stories” television show of the 1950s and ’60s. He retired in 1991 and died in 2011.
His son, David, began working for the company in 1978, and Christina joined in the 1980s.
The first Jimapco maps started with Burnt Hills and Schenectady, but the demand escalated until the company was perpetually in production on nearly 200 titles. Jimapco sold maps through Stewart’s, Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, Target, Barnes and Noble, and hundreds of other outlets.
In addition to the retail maps, Jimapco has made thousands of custom maps for business customers, fire companies, school districts, chambers of commerce, and government agencies around the country.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.