Sunday, April 22, 2007

Will the Rising Paper Mill closure end production of "Stonehenge"?

Is the production of Stonehenge art paper - much loved by some coloured pencil artists - at risk? That's the question which is not answered at all by the websites of either the Fox River Paper Company or Neenah Paper Inc. - the corporation which completed its acquisition of the Fox River Corporation in March this year.

Fox River Papers has a range of fine art papers in its product line using the brand name of Rising Art Papers. The mill which produced these is to be closed in the near future.
Neenah Paper today announced plans to close permanently one of the fine paper plants acquired in the recent purchase of Fox River Paper. The Housatonic mill, located near Great Barrington, Massachusetts, has annual production capacity of approximately 15,000 tons per year and is expected to cease manufacturing operations by the end of the second quarter. Housatonic was the smallest of four fine paper plants Neenah acquired as part of the Fox River acquisition.

“This is a necessary part of our plan to integrate Fox River in a manner that will result in a competitive long term cost structure for our combined operations. The Housatonic mill was not profitable due to its small size, cost structure and pricing of many of the grades made there. Closing the mill allows us to eliminate costs and improve margins while still serving the needs of key customers,” said Sean Erwin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Selected products made at Housatonic will be produced at our other sites, where we have available capacity and the ability to make these grades at a lower cost. (Press Release, Neenah Paper Corporation, 7th March 2007)
Neenah Paper Inc. does not appear to have any background in or experience in the production of fine art papers and may well feel that this is an area of its acquired product range which it may not want to develop or even produce.

In my opinion, the current statement on its website shouts 'no commitment' as to the future of the fine art papers.
Are you going to discontinue any brands that I currently am buying?

We intend to evaluate all brands, but are excited about the many opportunities that exist with the Fox River brands. We intend to communicate any product discontinuances 90 days before they would be effective to give you and your customer’s time to purchase inventory or evaluate comparable Neenah and Fox River products.
This is a link to the letter dated 26th March which it has sent to its 'valued' account customers. It makes absolutely no reference to the production of fine art papers but indicates it welcomes comments about the production of 'specialist papers'. Speaking personally, in my experience placing an emphasis on cost efficiencies and then ignoring the existence of any product or product range is a pretty good indicator of where that product exists in the profits 'radar' of the company which owns the trademark and/or patent.

In any case, the reality is that moving any production away from the type of water used in its production is likely to change the nature of the paper - if it survives.

So any fans of Stonehenge out there might want to check their current stock of Stonehenge paper - in the house and their local art shop.

If you also want to express an opinion about Stonehenge paper try writing to Trip Jobe, the chap who's inviting comments on the product range at the following address.

Trip Jobe,
Director of Marketing,
Neenah Paper Inc,
3460 Preston Ridge Road, Suite 600,
Alpharetta, GA 30005

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Belinda Lindhardt said...

Thanks again for your wonderful informative posts Katherine.

Hmmm its looking like i might have to stockup some !! i was just beginning to use stonehenge again .. i know lots of cp artists will be at a loss if this one is out of production.

Katherine said...

Belinda - I've included some links to on-line suppliers in the next post.

I'm also hoping that Legion Paper might be able to throw some light on what's the situation as to future supplies.

Katherine said...

And an update to the second post and a third post on this topic confirms that the future of Stonehenge and Rising Museum Board is secure

Read the relevant posts on Monday and Tuesday following this one.

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