February 15, 2024
Abrupt changes, uncertain future for Crane & Co. amid possible purchase

By Sarah Schwartz | Editor-in-Chief

The Albany Business Review and Times-Union report that WP Strategic Holdings is purchasing Crane & Co. from the also just-acquired Mohawk Fine Papers — and currently lists Crane on its site’s about page. “In principle we have a deal,” Todd Kletter, managing partner of the Albany, New York, investment firm, told the Times-Union, reporting that this agreement may save the jobs of 76 individuals laid off earlier in February.

On Feb. 12, this editor received word via a LinkedIn message that Crane & Co. had abruptly shuttered its operations. Reports trickled in of remote employees being suddenly locked out of servers, only to receive letters of termination from FedEx on their doorsteps. Meanwhile those in the trade — as well as countless clients — were not sure how to proceed with orders in progress.

Crane’s website currently states that it is “taking a moment to reflect,” while posts continue to appear in its Instagram feed. Typically the post shared on Feb. 14, showcasing a handwritten love letter from Alex Turner to Alexa Chung left in a bar, would elicit only gushing responses.

Instead, one longtime client, Liz Quinn of the chic Stationer on Sunrise of Palm Beach, commented, “Can we please address the elephant in the room rather than posting for Valentine’s Day!!? Your customers, retailers and employees deserve answers!! We are begging for some sort of communication!”

Community reactions have been shocked and sad. “Mark my words. Brides will cry,” Sadie Piller, former Senior Manager-Merchandising, Paper Source, succinctly stated in a message to this editor.

It’s been a nightmarish chapter, and perhaps the final one, for an iconic, 223-year-old brand that came to life alongside America. Its founder Stephen Crane participated in the Boston Tea Party, and Paul Revere used Crane paper for his engraved banknotes. Those banknotes helped finance the American Revolution. By 1799, Crane was printing currency, government proclamations, stocks and bonds, and important documents of every imaginable type from its Dalton, Massachusetts, plant, its name synonymous with the best papers and printing.

Screen capture of Crane & Co.’s website as of Feb. 15.

Mohawk Fine Papers purchased Crane in 2018, and during the COVID-19 lockdown, halted a rebranding effort to move operations to its Cohoes, New York, headquarters, with some employees making the move and others continuing remotely.

Now, according to an article in, Mohawk is being acquired by the International Fedrigoni Group. The article cites Fedrigoni as having been on an “acquisitions tear,” taking over companies in France, China, Spain, Turkey — and now America. While based in Italy, Fedrigoni is owned by Bain Capital, a Boston-based private investment firm, and BC Partners, a British international investment firm.

Mohawk was established where the Hudson and Mohawk rivers converge by the O’Connor family in 1931; Thomas D. O’Connor, Jr., is its current CEO. It entered into a manufacturing agreement with Fedrigoni in 2022 and became its North American distributor last July.

Mohawk Fine Papers and Crane did not respond to requests for comment.

Quinn described these developments as a “hard day for the stationery community” in a message to this editor Feb. 14. “We are caught in such an awful place having outstanding orders and no information to provide our customers. My Crane rep is devastated for fellow reps, customer service and all the factory workers who have been so dedicated to the company for years.”

On Saturday, Feb. 17, some Crane & Co. clients received the email below.


This is a developing story and will be updated. Please send tips to [email protected].


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