Abraham Associates, an independent publishers' rep group headquartered in Minneapolis, announced yesterday that Stu Abraham has transferred ownership of the group to his business partner, John Mesjak. The change in ownership became official on January 4. Mesjak, who was named PW’s Sales Rep of the Year in 2018, has been associated with the company since 2007. He and Abraham became partners almost 10 years ago and their intention was that Mesjak eventually would become head of the group after Abraham eased into retirement.
Abraham launched the business in 1992. Besides Abraham and Mesjak, the group includes Emily Johnson, Sandra Law, and Ted Seykora. The group sells to accounts in 13 Midwestern states and its clients include Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, Diamond Book Distributors, Chronicle Books, Candlewick Press, Moleskine, Ideal Bookshelf, and Peter Pauper Press.
In a 2018 PW profile of Mesjak, Abraham lauded him as his “Zen master, my can-do partner.” Abraham added, “He’s not only my partner—he’s a partner to booksellers, other reps, and publishers. He’s more than a good rep: he’s a big picture guy.”
Mesjak told PW that he and Abraham picked up the pace of their transition plan due to the pandemic, explaining, "We initiated the first steps back in 2011 – it was initially designed to be a 10-year process of me taking on more responsibility and Stu gradually stepping back, and finding the right balance for his workload. We got to the point this past spring/summer where we knew we were coming to the end of that 10-year arrangement; the worries about Covid really put an exclamation mark on our timeline. We wanted to have it all squared away and legally recognized with a plan for all of us. Our goal has always been to make sure that the stability of our rep group, our responsibilities for our client publishers, and our relationships with our booksellers around the Midwest continue into the future.”
Although Abraham has ceded ownership, Mesjak stated that he will continue to work for the group for the next five years, handling select accounts in Minnesota and other projects. The group’s overall territory and account coverage will remain the same as before.