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Crane Stationery has been bought by a New York paper company.

Crane Stationery Purchased by New York's Mohawk Fine Papers

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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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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Northern Berkshire United Way Sets $480K Campaign Goal

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Christine and Peter Hoyt are this year's campaign co-chairs. Their goal is to raise $480,000 over the next year. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire United Way supports 20 member agencies in the work they do addressing social, health, youth and family services throughout the region. 
Two of those agencies — Louison House and Community Legal Aid — highlighted some of the efforts within the community at United Way's annual campaign kick on Wednesday morning at Norad Mill. 
The agency also announced its new slate of officers and board members, including President Kelly McCarthy and Vice President Tyler Bissaillon, and took a moment to remember the contributions of the late Stephen Green, a longtime community activist and former campaign co-chair with his wife, Susanne Walker.
"While our hearts in our community at large are at a loss for a man who truly embody all of the characteristics and traits that we acknowledge as Northern Berkshire, such as honesty, integrity, commitment, selfless service, dedication, we can be comforted in knowing that his legacy lives on," said Jennifer Meehan, vice chair of Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, of which Green was a board member and former president. 
Kathy Keeser, executive director of Louison House, described the history of the shelter that opened more than three decades ago after the closure of Sprague Electric and other local mills devastated the economy. Founded by Theresa Louison, the agency has expanded to provide emergency shelter, family housing, transitional housing, preventive services and, soon, a youth shelter facility. 
Housing is a growing need while at the same time, housing costs are rising, she said, and this effects particularly the people Louison House serves, people who don't have savings or credit — "who are at the last chance of an apartment."
"People are really struggling, but it's our community connections and it's our work with other agencies," Keeser said. "We do a piece of the puzzle. Ours is about getting them out to housing — working with mental health, substance abuse, all the other agencies around to help us do that. And the United Way has been a big part of that, along with Williamstown Community Chest, and so many other businesses and individuals that support us. So it is the community that helps us succeed and helps us do what we're doing."
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