Meet the Publishers: A Brief History of Cedar Fort

Today we’re starting a new feature on our blog that we’re calling “Meet the Publishers.”

In this series we’ll introduce you to the business buffs, the innovative thinkers, and the practical jokers who have kept Cedar Fort in business for so long. We’ll also discuss some of the principles and ideas that have helped us succeed. We feel blessed to have grown so much, especially in the past few years while publishing as an industry has faced some serious challenges.

There will always be obstacles ahead, but we’ve found that when we combine new ideas and technology with the proven principles of the book business, we continually recreate our own niche in the market and develop products that significantly change lives.

In essence, we take the best of both the old and new and put those ideas to work for our customers: our authors, our readers, our buyers, and our employees.

Cedar Fort, Inc. officially began operating on May 23, 1986, off Geneva Road in Orem, Utah. At the time, we had only two employees. We started as a printing broker and distributor. After working with other publishers, we realized that we could produce books more efficiently than the competition. By our second year of business, we were setting and exceeding goals in the sales and production of our own titles.

Check out these highlights in our timeline below:

1986 – Cedar Fort, Inc., began business with the idea of serving our customers more efficiently.

1987 – Lyle Mortimer became the first publisher in Utah, possibly in the nation, to typeset a book on a Mac.

1988 – Beyond the Veil Vol. 1 by Lee Nelson debuted to instant success.

1992 – Moved to a new location on Main Street in Springville.

1993 – Began using Acumen software to track inventory, calculate author royalties, and manage payroll.

1994 – Began using Adobe Photoshop to create covers.

1996 – Incorporated the idea of short runs and print-on-demand for our backlist titles by collaborating with a local printer.

1996 – Began selling to Barnes and Noble.

1997 – Hired our first bookkeeper for AP/AR, Cindy Bunce. She still works with us but will retire in 2015.

1998 – Put heavier emphasis on publishing and increased number of titles published annually.

2000 – Began selling to Walmart.

2001 – Hired our sales manager, Angie Harris.

2002 – Published Isaiah Made Easier by David Ridges, which resulted in the Gospels Made Easier series.

May 2004 – Acquired Horizon Publishers, which was then the oldest existing independent LDS publisher.

Nov. 2004 – Acquired Pioneer Plus Gifts, which was the oldest LDS jewelry company in the marketplace.

June 2006 – Bryce returned from London England, after serving a full-time mission for the LDS church and began working full-time at Cedar Fort as the PR manager.

 Nov. 2006 – Moved into our own building at 2373 W 700 S, Springville.

2007 – Grew to roughly 13 employees.

2008 – Published The Shell Game by Steve Alten, selling 40,000 copies in one month. Reached #31 on NYT Bestseller list.

2009 – Published Shattered Silence by Melissa Moore, who was featured three times on Oprah, three times on Dr. Phil, and also featured on Gerald, 20/20 and Good Morning America.

2010 – Bryce Mortimer named as Vice President.

2011 – Welcomed New York Times bestselling romance writer Carla Kelly as a Cedar Fort author.

2011 – Bryce Mortimer named as President and Katreina Eden as Vice President.

Aug. 2011 – Divided our team into genre facets (work groups) to provide a better experience for our authors and increase workflow efficiency.

Nov. 2013 – Completed construction on an additional 16,000 square feet of warehouse space.

2014 – Distributed The Saratov Approach on Blu-ray and DVD as our debut in the film industry. Pre-sold 100,000 copies, non-returnable.

2014 – Grew to 62 employees.

2015 – Listed in Publisher’s Weekly as one of the top 12 fastest-growing publishing companies.

 


 

As we look to the future, we know it will require us to think creatively and continue to innovate. We’re excited to keep growing and developing a wide range of products that will entertain, enlighten, and educate.

You may have noticed a few familiar names in the timeline above. Cedar Fort’s vision and execution would not have been possible without Lyle Mortimer, Lee Nelson, Bryce Mortimer, and Katreina Eden. They and their families have contributed countless hours to the success of our company. At our core, Cedar Fort is a family business, so we’d like to introduce you to our publishers and their families.

Lyle photo

Lyle and Sheila Mortimer have seven children and 22 grandchildren. They have lived in Springville for 25 years. Lyle is a marathon runner and recorded personal records for the last two years in a row.  Lyle is also passionate about scouting. In February 2015, he was awarded The District Award of Merit for his work on a Klondike that included 600 scouts and leaders. We think he picked up his skills as a rubber-band shooter from his boy scouts. As a young man, Lyle served an LDS mission in Samoa, serving his entire mission on the island of Niue; he and Sheila look forward to serving a mission together. Each of Lyle’s children has worked for Cedar Fort in some capacity.

Lee Nelson

Lee and Sharon Nelson are the parents of eight children. They live in Mapleton, Utah. As a bestselling author, Lee has long enjoyed working in publishing and helping others succeed in telling their own stories. His historical novels have sold hundreds of thousands of copies since his first novel was released in 1981. Lee has also published a score of non-fiction works including the top-selling Beyond the Veil series. He was born in Logan, Utah, but spent most of his childhood in California. After serving an LDS mission in Germany, he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a Masters Degree in Business, both from Brigham Young University. Each of Lee’s children has spent time working for Cedar Fort.

Bryce

Bryce Mortimer and his wife, Jessica, have one son, Lyam. They have been married since 2007 and recently moved from Spanish Fork to Santaquin. Like his dad, Bryce loves scouting and spending time outdoors. He’s also passionate about aviation and is close to getting his pilot’s license. Bryce served a mission in London, England. We all look forward to the day we can put Lyam to work at Cedar Fort, just like his father and grandfather before him. But for now he serves as our unofficial mascot and chief cuteness officer.

Kat Eden photo2

Katreina Eden grew up in the Midwest, eventually landing in California where she went to law school and then ran her own law firm for a number of years. In addition to working as Cedar Fort’s executive vice president, Katreina also owns and operates Organiwic, LLC, an all-natural candle company, with her sister. She enjoys being out in nature and spending time with family. In 2014, Katreina published her first book with Cedar Fort, Bible Bands.

 

Cedar Fort Ground Breaking040


 

Whether you’re an author, a book seller, a reviewer, or just a fan stopping by to read our blog, we want to welcome you into our Cedar Fort family and invite you to join us as we continue to combine the best of the old and new in publishing and look forward to a future full of opportunity.

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4 thoughts on “Meet the Publishers: A Brief History of Cedar Fort

  • March 19, 2015 at 7:48 am
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    What a wonderful story! My husband and I went to BYU Provo and then came to the Midwest (St. Charles, MO) to work though both of us are born and raised in the West. We have been here for many years and at the time there were no publishers in Utah. A member of our Ward, Ann Farnsworth, will be published in August of this year. My dad was a medic in WWII and was overseas nearly 3 full years. I have releases for the 1,000 to 1,200 pictures and journals the men kept and have mostly gotten the book finished. Would there be anyone in the publishing house that would be interested in it. It is only about what they went through in WWII. Take care, Carolyn

  • March 19, 2015 at 11:38 am
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    Thanks for the info. Take care, Carolyn

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