NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Crane & Co. is planning to bring 100 new jobs to the city with the purchase of a high-quality stationery maker.
The paper company announced Thursday afternoon it had acquired Maine-based William Arthur Stationery and will move its operations to North Adams.
Mayor Richard Alcombright called the acquisition "the best economic news since I had taken office" for the city.
"These are manufacturing jobs. They're good paying jobs," Alcombright said on Thursday. "I just can't thank Doug Crane and Crane & Co. enough."
According to Crane CEO Stephen DeFalco, Crane approached the West Kennebunk company about eight months ago and signed a deal recently — for an undisclosed amount — to purchase its operations.
The purchase is part of Crane & Co.'s "repositioning" of the stationery division, which recently included consolidating operations in the North Adams factory. William Arthur will be integrated into the operations by adding a second shift and about 100 employees.
"This just a great step for us," DeFalco said on Thursday. "This adds a substantial amount of volume out of that facility."
Crane recently re-examined the stationery industry, which in the last 10 years had declined in certain aspects of the market, such as stationery for letter writing. Crane found that high-end stationery is most needed for wedding invitations, thank-you cards and personal, DeFalco said, and restructured the company based on those items.
"Casual conversation has shifted to email," DeFalco said.
Crane announced earlier this year that some Dalton and Pittsfield facilities will be consolidated into the North Adams building as one stationery division. That has paved the way for leaner production and opened the door to make an acquisition.
"That made us more bullish with this," DeFalco said and later added, "We can go to market with three powerful brands."
The 60-year-old William Arthur, an automonous subsidiary of Hallmark, also offers Vera Wang Fine Papers.
The company employs more than 250 in West Kennebunk; some of those employees will be offered relocation. William Arthur also recently invested $1 million in digital printing equipment, according to Maine Biz, but DeFalco said only some of that will be moved to Hardman Industrial Park. Crane offers similar products so William Arthur's can be produced with existing equipment.
By the end of next year, the company is expected to be fully moved to North Adams with integration beginning in the second quarter. An integration team has been formed that will outline the plan for consolidation, DeFalco said.
Alcombright said he is working with the company to offer a tax incentive to ease the transition of bringing the jobs to the city.
"I hope to have a tax payment plan in front of the City Council in two to three weeks," Alcombright said. "It allows us to provide tax assessment based on the economic impact."
The biggest impact for Alcombright is that the move again reinforces the company's commitment to the city and the economy of the Berkshires, Alcombright said.
Editor: Yes, we had the incorrect spelling of stationery. It has been fixed.
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