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Crane Stationery Being Revived Under New Owner
Staff Reports, iBerkshires
12:28PM / Thursday, March 14, 2024
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The venerable Crane Stationery is turning a page with its new owner. 
WP Strategic Holdings says it has completed its acquisition of 200-year-old company, according The Albany Business Review. 
Todd Kletter, managing partner of WP Strategic Holdings, told the Review that he expects it will restart operations on Friday.
About 90 percent of the employees abruptly laid off in February when its parent company Mohawk Fine Papers was acquired by an international firm are being told they will be rehired with the seniority and benefits intact. They expected to receive offer letters today. 
The Albany, N.Y.-based consulting and investment firm had Crane listed in its portfolio within days of its closure and stated its intention to acquire the company.
"We are thrilled to welcome Crane Stationery into the WP Strategic Holdings family," Kletter said in a statement to the Review. "Crane Stationery's unparalleled reputation for quality and craftsmanship aligns perfectly with our vision of supporting companies with a strong heritage and a dedication to excellence."
Mohawk Fine Papers of Cohoes, N.Y., purchased Crane Stationery in 2018 with plans to expand the operation. But it closed the North Adams plant in 2020 and laid off nearly 200 employees. 
Fedrigoni, a specialty paper and luxury packaging manufacturer based in Italy, acquired the paper company in February. Mohawk, family owned since 1931, had entered into a manufacturing agreement with Fedrigoni in 2022 and became its North American distributor last July.
Some Crane employees had been offered jobs in Cohoes, where the printing of Crane was to continue, and remotely. Those workers were abruptly locked out of the company's email and servers on Feb. 14.
Kletter told the Review that Fedrigoni had placed Crane's assets in a holding company while negotiating with his team and Crane will lease space in Cohoes from Fedrigoni. He said retired Mohawk CEO Thomas D. O'Connor Jr. had helped facilitate the deal but has no stake in Crane's revival. 
"We are excited about the possibilities that this acquisition brings," Kletter said in a statement. "This acquisition will enable Crane to maintain its growth initiatives, expand its reach, and continue the legacy of delivering premium stationery products to our discerning customers."
He also told the Review he has been assuring Crane's customers, who had been cut off with no explanation. The Crane website, which for weeks had a notice that the site was down for maintenance as "We are taking a moment to reflect" is back up. 
Kletter, who founded WP Strategic Holdings in 2020, had previously consulted for Crane and is currently the interim chief operating officer.
Offer letters to employees say the the transition will "unfold in several phases" but they can "rest assured that your wages and payment schedule will remain unchanged."
"Our goal is to make this transition as seamless as possible for you and keep benefits as closely aligned to what had been offered in the past. We appreciate your patience as we finalize these details."
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