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ACCO move is good, bad news

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It is good news and bad news for the Ogdensburg area.

On Thursday, ACCO Brands announced it was moving most of its manufacturing and distribution operations from its Brampton, Ontario, plant to its 300,000-square-foot distribution center in the city at 941 ACCO Way.

Also, the Illinois-based office supplies company said it will move the manufacturing operations of its 140,000-square-foot plant at 263 ACCO Drive, town of Oswegatchie, to the distribution center. That will put 140 employees under one roof. New jobs are possible beginning with calling back laid-off workers.

ACCO Executive Vice President and President U.S. Office and Consumer Products Tom Tedford on Thursday called the plan a design to “position the company to continue to support the Canadian and U.S. businesses in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, and enhance future business potential.”

“We’re consolidating it in one place,” ACCO spokesman Richard Nelson said Friday. “This is very good news for Ogdensburg.”

Mayor William D. Nelson agreed.

“It’s good news if you’re keeping jobs in the north country,” he said.

“We are grateful that ACCO has seen fit to expand its Ogdensburg operation,” said Ogdensburg City Manager John M. Pinkerton. “The city applauds ACCO for continuing its legacy of producing products in then north country and distributing them throughout the world. ACCO proves that manufacturing in the United States is a viable option for those who are innovative and creative enough to compete with anybody in the world.”

But the decision is bad news for the Brampton plant, which will close and leave 95 hourly and 30 salaried workers jobless. Another 70 office employees will be transferred to an ACCO-owned Mead office supply facility in Mississaugua, Ontario.

It’s also bad news for the town of Oswegatchie where the plant has been a presence since 1946.

“They called me a couple of days ago and told me about it,” said Town Supervisor Alfred “Bud” Nichols. “This won’t be good news for us.”

Mr. Nichols hopes that the building, which is assessed at $1,465,000, will be marketed for future use.

ACCO Brands manufactures three-ring binders, folders and document covers.

The consolidating of the manufacturing and distribution operations work will begin immediately and is expected to be completed by January.

ACCO Brands is being assisted on the project by the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency. The agency is providing assistance in the form of a sales tax exemption for equipment purchases and infrastructure improvements, and reimbursement for training expenses.

“When a globally-recognized company like ACCO chooses to bring more operations and more jobs, to St. Lawrence County it speaks volumes for the local workforce and for this area’s ability to compete in today’s challenging economic environment,” said St. Lawrence County IDA Chief Executive Officer Patrick J. Kelly. “ACCO has a long history in Ogdensburg and we are extremely pleased that they continue to find ways to benefit from our strategic border location.”

Mr. Kelly added that St. Lawrence County provided the IDA with an allocation from its Tribal State Compact Funds for training local workers, and that a portion of the funds are being utilized to assist in this project.

“The county had the vision to recognize that training funds can be very important as companies work to retain and add workers, and federal resources for these programs have been drastically reduced,” he said. “By providing Tribal Compact funds, the county has enabled us to assist in projects like this, and we are seeing the benefit from their investment.”

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