The following article was published in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette on December 16, 2011. To view full article click here.
For Classic Envelope Inc. owner Michael G. DeCaro, it was a move that had to be made to ensure his 23-year old company’s survival.
After many years of looking for new locations for the expanding business, Gilboa Properties LLC closed Dec. 1 on a 300,000-square-foot building on Gilboa Street in East Douglas that housed an Interface Fabric Group factory until several years ago. The new home of Classic Envelope Inc. is also known to many in the area as the site of the former Hayward-Schuster Woolen Mill.
Classic Envelope opened on Howe Avenue in Millbury in 1988 and it moved to Whitinsville in 1993.
Mr. DeCaro said in an interview yesterday in the Gilboa Street building the company expects to bring in between $9 million and $10 million in sales this year and that his projections are for between $10 million and $12 million in sales next year.
The company’s website said Classic Envelope makes more than 600 million envelopes a year and provides related services such as printing.
Mr. DeCaro said the plan is to move from Whitinsville to Douglas in February.
The cost of the building was $1 million and renovations totaling $1.9 million will be made.
Work started about two weeks ago — including replacing the roof. A new heating system will be installed and work is moving ahead to install a system that will provide the company’s electrical needs by solar power, Mr. DeCaro said.
“There’s a lot of adjustments that have to be made,” said Classic Envelope Inc.’s maintenance manager, Martin Gamache.
Mr. DeCaro, who recently had rotator cuff surgery, said he’s frustrated because he can’t play a more active role in the building’s renovation.
“I’m a hands-on kind of guy,” he said. “I’m going nuts. I want to jump in.”
Classic Envelope currently employs 75 people in two shifts and Mr. DeCaro said the plan is to add about 40 more employees beginning next year.
“That might be conservative,” said Mr. DeCaro of the future job growth.
Town meeting voters last month approved a tax-increment financing, or TIF, agreement that would bring $171,124 in new revenue to the town during the 15-year term of the agreement, according to Selectman Harold R. Davis.
“I have nothing but praise for all of the people in Douglas,” Mr. DeCaro said. “They have been very helpful.”
Along with having more space, the company will have a floor plan that will make its operations flow smoothly, Mr. DeCaro said. He said the current plan is to have the business on the 180,000 square-foot first floor. The company is currently operating in Whitinsville on three floors totaling 90,000 square feet. He said operating on a single floor will speed up operations. He also said the company’s new location close to Route 146 will improve transportation times.
The second floor will remain vacant for now, although Mr. DeCaro said there is a possibility his company will expand there in the future.
Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jeannie Hebert said there have been talks with officials of Quinsigamond Community College about putting a satellite campus on the second floor at some point. She also said a guard shack in front of the building could become a visitor center.
Mr. DeCaro acknowledged the market for envelopes has shrunk in recent years with the rise of the Internet and the closing of businesses that use envelopes. However, he said the closing of some competitors has resulted in an increase in Classic Envelope’s business.
Mr. DeCaro said he looked at many places in the last five years before deciding to buy the Douglas property. Another key factor in the decision was the fact that the previous owners of the property had cleaned up contamination at the site and that saved him a lot of money.
Still, there have been regulatory and permitting issues that had to be resolved. He said that the cost of renovations to make the building usable for his business will be about $300,000 while the cost to meet state codes and regulations will be about $1.6 million.
“This has been a learning experience that nobody should have to go through,” said Mr. DeCaro, who credited Ms. Hebert with helping him through the process.
“He had a lot of red tape that he had to go through,” said Ms. Hebert. “I wasn’t going to let him give up.”
This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink. December 2, 2011