Crane & Co.'s acquisition last week of a Maine stationery competitor whose operation will be moved to North Adams constitutes good economic news for that community, and just as significantly, it speaks to the Dalton-based company's continued commitment to the Berkshires, where its roots are deep.
Personalized stationery sales have been in decline, undoubtedly because of the ease of Internet communications, but rather than retrench, Crane is seeking to increase its share of the remaining market, specifically the high-quality end of that market. Three years ago it appeared that Crane would close its North Adams stationery plant, but now it will be combined with the newly purchased William Arthur stationery operation currently located in West Kennebunk, Maine. Crane purchased the operation from its parent company, Hallmark Cards.
Of course, good news in one community is bad news elsewhere, which is the nature of capitalism. Admirably, Crane is offering to relocate William Arthur's 270 employees to North Adams. Many will prefer to remain in their community, and we hope North Adams and Berkshire residents will get first crack at any job openings that result. North Adams will consider and should offer tax incentives to help Crane smooth the move of the William Arthur operation to the city.
Crane & Company, which has manufactured currency paper for the U.S. government since 1879, and exclusively since 1964, must periodically withstand challenges from advocates of the unpopular dollar coin. Maintaining a solid stationery operation to go with currency is a wise way for Crane to assure its place as a stable Berkshire jobs provider for a couple more centuries at least.