Dalton, MA Paper Maker to Buy Maine Competitor

One city’s loss is another’s gain as a signature Berkshire County business plans to buy a Maine company and bring some of its jobs to North Adams. 

Crane & Company, the paper manufacturer based in Dalton, announced this week that it plans to purchase rival stationary firm William Arthur from its parent company, Hallmark. Crane will offer about one hundred of William Arthur’s two hundred and seventy employees the option to re-locate to North Adams. William Arthur is based in West Kennebunk, on Maine’s seacoast about one hundred and eighty miles to the northeast.

North Adams mayor Dick Alcombright is betting few Maine workers will choose to move, and sees the purchase as the best local employment news since he took office in two thousand and nine. 

“I couldn’t be happier. When you think about, this is the best economic news certainly since I’ve been in office and maybe in the last several years for North Adams.”

Crane & Company, a family owned business based in the Berkshires since eighteen oh-one, produces high-end stationary products and the paper used by the US Treasury to print the country’s money. WIth people writing fewer letters in the digital age, the company has had to restructure several times since 2009, eliminating some jobs and consolidating operations among multiple plants.

This decision to grow its holdings in the stationary field reflects a desire to leverage what it does best, according to Katie Lacey, president of Crane’s stationary division.

“Electronic communication has enabled a real shift in casual communication. But we do believe in the power of the handwritten note, the engraved invitation, and we believe those are timeless elements.”

The deal is expected to close by the end of the month. The migration of about one hundred jobs from Maine to North Adams would happen in the second half of next year. For New England Public Radio, I’m Jeremy Goodwin.