Crane & Co. Closing North Adams Plant

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Crane & Co. is consolidating its stationary division closer to its Dalton headquarters and moving 200 jobs out of the city.

Crane plans to build a state-of-the-art facility in Dalton or Pittsfield and transfer its North Adams work force on Curran Highway and approximately 100 other jobs currently in the Pittsfield area there next year.

"This represents a commitment to our customers, employees and owners to continue efforts to reinvigorate this iconic brand," said Crane Chief Executive Officer Charles Kittredge in a statement. Kittredge informed Stationery Division employees in North Adams of the move late this morning.

The cost of the consolidation was not revealed, but Kittredge, in the statement, said he expects a relatively quick return on investment though cost savings. "We also expect that the move will allow us to operate more efficiently in a new state-of-the-art facility," he said.

The move isn't expected to happen for six months; no layoffs are anticipated. The company owns two buildings and the lot they're situated on in the Hardman Industrial Park.

"This is a way to help reduce costs so that employment won't be further affected by layoffs," said Crane spokesman Peter L. Hopkins on Thursday afternoon.

The Stationary Division last March laid off 51 workers at its Personal Design Services department in North Adams and 19 in Dalton.

The company hasn't selected a specific site for the new plant, but it may end up on Crane's sprawling campus along the Pittsfield and Dalton town line, said Hopkins. "It's going to take awhile to find the most suitable space."

In the press release, Kittredge said production represents Excelsior's largest group of employees but that the customer-service function will also be integrated in the Dalton facility, allowing similar improvements in integration and efficiency. The move will also facilitate more effective communication among various departments within the Stationery Division.

Kittredge was in scheduled meetings and not immediately available for comment.

Crane has had operations in North Adams since 1970, when it purchased the Excelsior companies — Excelsior Printing and Excelsior Process & Engraving — founded by the Roberts family in 1892. Crane moved then Excelsior Process & Engraving to the Robert Hardman Industrial Park in 1985. Excelsior Printing Co. on Roberts Drive was purchased by David W. Crane in 2005.
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