Excelsior Printing Divisions Join With Connecticut Company

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Excelsior will cease printing after nearly 125 years North Adams. The company's printing and SeedPrint operations will join Integrity Graphics in Connecticut.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Excelsior Printing is shifting two of its operations to Integrity Graphics in Windsor, Conn.

Excelsior Printing and SeedPrint will be joining Integrity as of Monday, June 15, said CEO and owner David Crane.

The deal has been in the works for several weeks and employees had been notified there were changes coming. Crane, on Friday, said he was in the process of notifying customers of the new operations.

"They're kind of excited about it," he said. "[Integrity Graphics] have more capacity and they can offer different things."

Sales and services will remain in North Adams and the company's other two divisions under Excelsior Integrated — Fulfillment and the Oatmeal Studios Greeting Cards — will continue at the Valley Mill in Lee. Integrity will hold the rights to Excelsior Printing and SeedPrint, which will keep their names but operate as divisions of Integrity.

Five or six employees are expected to be affected by the agreement. Excelsior has about 40 employees, 20 each in North Adams and Lee. Outside of sales, some workers from North Adams were absorbed by Integrity, including Production Manager Mark Gebbe.

"The beauty of this is you have the same person in sales and you have the same production guy," Crane said. "It will be a 'make the company bigger, faster, stronger' kind of thing."

Crane & Co. had purchased the 125-year-old Excelsior companies — Excelsior Printing and Excelsior Process & Engraving — in 1970. In 2005, Excelsior separated from Crane & Co. under new owner David Crane and, in 2008, diversified its products, first with the acquisition of SeedPrint, a design and seed-packet printing company, and by purchasing one of its customers, the family-owned Oatmeal Studios greeting card company of Vermont. Berkshire Information Systems was acquired in 2011, leading to the creation of Excelsior Integrated.

Integrity has more than 30 years in the printing industry and has two subsidiaries, Colonial Printing and PDQ Graphics, both in Rhode Island. It offers a variety of different print services as well as graphic design, marketing and management.

Crane said he and Integrity's owner and CEO, Joseph LaValla, became friends while serving on the board of Printing Industries of New England, Integrity in the past had provided backup for Excelsior in terms of equipment and capacity.

Crane will continue to be president of Excelsior Integrated, which offers product packaging, distribution and management, and an adviser to Integrity. The two companies will also partner to "cross sell" each other's services and Excelsior Integrated will be a customer of Integrity.

SeedPrint will operate in North Adams at least through the summer to complete certain orders but printing needs will begin to transition to Integrity's other locations. Crane anticipates keeping the offices in North Adams but the building is owned by Crane & Co.; Excelsior has been operating with a long-term lease.

"The building's in great shape and I've talked to a couple of interests about potential uses," Crane said.

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