“There is a perception that the creative economy is painting, photography and sculpting but when you think of it, it is so many other things,” Murray said after touring the West Pittsfield company. “We’re trying to drive the point home that one of the areas that we think we can grow and add jobs is around the creative economy. Quite frankly, Pittsfield’s been a leader.”
Interprint is essentially a paper company but every employee must have some type of artistic ability. The printing company creates and prints wood-type designs, which is then laminated into countertops, flooring and other such decor. The process starts with research and design to the final printing — all in house.
“We have this wealth of creative talent and we’ve always been innovative,” said Interprint’s Director of Communications Peter Stasiowski of the county. “We’re the crossroads between modern manufacturing and the creative economy.”
Stasiowski said pretty much anything you see that looks like wood but isn’t, likely had roots in Pittsfield. But it isn’t just the designing that’s creative, it’s in the productivity and ways of doing business as well.
Recently, when a downtrodden housing market was hurting business, Stasiowski said he challenged his employees to come up with ways to save money. What resulted was a five-figure savings in energy costs and a reduction in wrapping for shipping by more than a third among other savings, he said.
Additionally, the company worked with Berkshire Creative on a contest for local designers in 2009. The winning design — a popcorn motif — is now being sold.
Murray and Berkshire Creative Director Jodi Joseph toured the facility on Thursday to get a better understanding of the work they do.
“These are good, living wage jobs and from what I’ve been able to see is people have been there for some periods of time and enjoy the company,” Murray said of his tour. “There are so many products that we see in our homes and businesses and stores come from a piece of paper. I always kind of learn something from these visits.”
Not only was Murray there to learn about the company but also to find ways to help. About halfway through the tour, Murray asked Stasiowski about the energy costs, which are high given the amount of production that goes on inside that building. Murray said he would be sending out a team from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental affairs and the Clean Energy Center to see what types of incentives the state could give to help reduce those costs.
The Patrick-Murray administration’s Creative Economy Industry Director Helena Fruscio (formerly director of Berkshire Creative) and Creative Economy Council are meeting with businesses, organizations and individuals working in design, film, media, publishing, visual and performing art, music, architecture and video games to discuss the creative economy and its future in Massachusetts.
Murray’s tour is expected to hit 500 businesses throughout the state. Earlier on Thursday, he visited Indian Orchards Mill in Springfield as part of the CreativeNEXT tours that began this July.