LEWISTON — Geiger — publisher of the Farmers’ Almanac and distributor of branded promotional goods — will recommit to Lewiston by expanding its workforce and going solar.

“We’ve been proud citizens of Lewiston, trying our best to make this a better place for our company, our employees and the community for 61 years,” company CEO Gene Geiger said Wednesday.

Company officials announced the $12 million expansion at a ceremony at their Mount Hope Avenue headquarters to a room full of employees and city dignitaries.

Geiger said the project would convert the old factory space into new offices for as many as 50 new employees, to be hired over the next five years.

“It’s fascinating what the world has become and how small things are because of the internet and how we can now source and deliver products on a worldwide basis,” Geiger said.

“We used to have salespeople who would drive local routes, take care of local customers,” he said. “Now, everyone has their hands in on things far away from where they live. We have to be able to accommodate those customers and handle their worldwide needs.”

The company also will build a massive, 620-panel solar array, enough to generate more than 250,000 kilowatt-hours per year. That should handle 90 percent of the company’s electrical needs, Geiger said.

“It can eliminate more than eight million pounds of carbon pollution over its estimated 40-year lifespan,” he said.

The ceremony included a review of the company’s history. Founded in New Jersey in 1878 as a family print shop, the company originally printed calendars, planners and diaries and the Farmers’ Almanac. It began selling promotional products in the 1930s. It continued to expand and moved to Lewiston in 1955.

“Today, we sell promotional products to customers of all sizes in virtually every state and we deliver them to customers and businesses worldwide,” Geiger said.

Geiger and his brother, Peter — co-owner, executive vice president and editor of the Farmers’ Almanac — are the fourth generation of the family to operate the company.

“In short, we are investing for our future, a future based in Lewiston and one that provides literally a foundation for generation five — and perhaps beyond that,” Gene Geiger said.

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