NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Crane Stationery Corp. was acquired on Wednesday by Mohawk Fine Papers, a family-owned paper company based in Cohoes, N.Y.
Employees at Crane, in the Hardman Industrial Park, were informed of the purchase on Thursday afternoon. The price was not revealed but workers, who were part of the partnership that bought the production lines from Crane & Co. in 2015, were told that their shares would be bought out. The company's president, chief financial officer, and operations manager will depart. Crane has about 270 employees.
According to a press release from Mohawk, Mohawk and Crane will maintain their respective existing brand names and products. Crane's three main brands — Crane & Co., William Arthur and Vera Wang — will continue, as will their personalized products, wedding invitations, cards and boxed stationery.
"The Crane name and reputation has withstood the test of time for more than 200 years and we are very excited to add this legendary paper and stationery brand to our family portfolio," said Tom O'Connor, Mohawk's chairman and chief executive officer in a statement.
Mohawk was established by the O'Connor family in 1931 and now has about 600 employees and sells its products in some 60 countries.
O'Connor, shortly after speaking with employees, said he had assured them Mohawk was a transparent organization and that the company was not just buying Crane but investing in it.
"We have no intention of moving the plant or reducing the size of the workforce," he said, adding the four-generation family company will remain in private hands. It is currently the largest privately owned paper company. "I hope to add jobs."
Rather, he saw a good synergy between the two luxury brands that could be built on to the benefit of both.
"Crane is the most iconic brand ever in the paper stationery world, Mohawk Fine Paper makes some of the nicest paper in the world," he said. "We produce and they convert and make products. ... the other synergy is we have a lot of customers each that the other can tap into."
Both, for example, have significant relationships with Tiffany & Co.," he said. "There's a commonality ... we're both luxury brands and we deal with the same customers."
And while Crane is more than 100 years older, Mohawk is "significantly larger" in terms of sales, O'Connor said.
Mohawk and Crane also share a commitment to sustainability. O'Connor said the far-sighted efforts of his father to stay ahead of environmental requirements with the passage of the Clean Air and Water Acts has evolved into a company ethos.
"We did it before it was fashionable," he said.
In a statement, departing Crane Stationery President Katie Lacey said the two companies were a "fitting match."
"I cannot think of a more fitting match for Crane than a family-owned company like Mohawk, which instinctively recognizes the timeless impact of perfectly crafted print on beautiful paper," she said. "I look forward to seeing the Crane brand continue to grow under Mohawk's exceptional leadership."
Mohawk has assigned Paul Biesiadecki to oversee the Crane Business and facilitate the transition to Mohawk. Dean Daigle will be responsible for all Crane operations including finance, human resources, and information technology and Bart Robinson will lead the sales and marketing teams. All Crane employees with the exception of the three owners will join the Mohawk team.
The small office in Kennebunkport, Maine, with the two-person William Arthur design team will remain but the Manhattan, N.Y., headquarters will close. O'Connor expected to open a smaller office in New York with a design and innovation team.
While the main operations are in Cohoes, Mohawk also operates an envelope-folding plant in South Hadley it purchased in 2015 as well as one in Ohio. Some $2.5 million was invested in the South Hadley plant and it received tax incentives over four years. But in the case of North Adams, O'Connor said he had not even spoken with local officials prior to the purchase.
"We like Massachusetts," he said. "We found it a very good state to do business in."
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Letter: Former Superintendent Backs Macksey for Mayor
Letter to the Editor
To the Editor:
I write this letter in support of Jennifer Macksey for the position of mayor of North Adams. During my tenure as superintendent of schools, I had the opportunity to work with Jen in a number of critical areas. Going through my archived notes I came across several examples of her skills in dealing with a variety of complex and major issues. The key issues she dealt with included establishing student activity accounts, pay dates for employees, and cherry sheet issues. Jen was there to help us set up procedures for the safety of students and staff.
Her expertise in finance was invaluable when issues arose concerning funding related to the Greylock, Sullivan and Conte building repairs. She worked with state Rep. Daniel Bosley’s office regarding these projects. During the $21 million Drury High renovation, she was at my side in a number of ways such as dealing with bus transportation issues, financial reports, and dealing with the architects at Tessier Associates during all phases of the project. She sat in on many of our weekly construction meetings, and she knew the various subcontractors on a first name basis. Her excellent communication and financial skills were demonstrated in our conversations with the general contractor.
She did her research on costs and never backed away from a dispute over numbers and details. She knew representatives from the SBAB (former School Building Assistance Bureau) in Boston, and she made sure the city got its 87 percent reimbursement. She excelled in designing RFPs for various projects and in the creation of bid specs for purchases. This included bids on trucks and vans, telecommunication networks, computers, $100,000 HVAC maintenance, and half-million dollar bus transportation .
Jen participated in crafting critical documents regarding school lunch programs. These documents saved the School Department a considerable amount of money and provided a template for future protocols. She was cognizant of School Department spending and reviewed invoices and payments with great detail. She saved the city many dollars through the careful use of borrowing in anticipation of revenue. She monitored bond trends while working closely with the city's financial advisers. Her communication skills were evident in meetings with state officials, our legal department, staff, vendors, parents, and the press.
I often referred to her as "Director of Everything." I confidently support her in becoming the next mayor of North Adams.
Joe Rogge Adams, Mass.
Joseph Rogge is a retired superintendent of the North Adams Public Schools.
This debate was sponsored by iBerkshires.com and the MCLA Political Science Club, and hosted by the MCLA. It was held at the Church Street Center and attracted a robust audience of more than 150 people.
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