NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Crane & Co. is moving its entire Stationery Division from Dalton and Pittsfield to the city.
The move is a consolidation of four operations into one with 55 jobs being eliminated.
According to Crane & Co. spokesman Peter Hopkins, the company is moving the operations from two buildings in the Downing Industrial Park in Pittsfield and its Dalton stationery factory to its North Adams location.
The division is expected to be in full operation by the end of the first quarter next year under one roof in the Hardman Industrial Park on Curran Highway
“It just makes sense to produce, market and sell all from one location,” Hopkins said on Wednesday. “It just had gotten to the point where it is too far flung that it wasn’t efficient.”
The company has been looking to consolidate the department since 2009 but hadn’t decided on a location until now. Three years ago, the plan had been to close the North Adams plant and move those jobs to Dalton or Pittsfield.
“The dangling thought that they may leave the area has been worrisome,” Mayor Richard Alcombright said on Wednesday, calling the news “absolutely awesome” for the city. “The best news is the long-term commitment.”
The move will eliminate 55 jobs but Hopkins said the company has spent the last few months not filling open positions and hiring temporary workers so that at least some of those employees affected will be able to switch departments. For the rest, the company has offered a voluntary severance pay in hopes that some 20 employees who are either nearing retirement or who can afford to lose the job will take that. A total of 15 to 20 posts are eyed for permanent elimination, he said.
“Unfortunately, there is going to be some jobs eliminated,” Hopkins said. “At the end of the day we’re hoping that we’ll have only 15 permanent.”
Currently, the company has 268 employees working in that division and some 200 are already in North Adams.
Alcombright said that while it is unfortunate that jobs will be lost, the choice of North Adams helps solidify the industrial park and could help attract more businesses to the city.
“They are the major tenant and have been for years,” the mayor said. “It means everything to the park to have that anchor… To have a name like that anchoring your park is a good thing.”
The marketing and customer service departments have already been moved to North Adams but there is not a strict time line of when the rest will join, Hopkins said, but company officials are plotting that out now.
“The stationery market has changed substantially over the past five years,” reads a statement from CEO Stephen P. DeFalco. “The changes that we are making to our product and our operations will position the Stationery Division to be more competitive and relevant to today’s consumer.”
The city did not entice the company with tax breaks but was in constant contact with Crane officials in hopes to at least keep the current North Adams jobs here, Alcombright said. He said he has often visited the plant and talked to management.
“The more time went by, they were trying to find a way to maintain a relationship with the city,” Alcombright said. “But while the city is a partner, they are the ones investing the capital and we’re thrilled with the news today.”
Crane first had operations in the city in 1970 when it purchased the Excelsior companies and moved the printing and engraving operations to the park in 1985. Crane’s personalized design services now operate in the park; Excelsior Printing Co. was sold in 2005 and continues to operate on Roberts Drive.
As originally published in iBerkshires
By Andy McKeever