International Packaging Corp.’s recent buyout of Cranston-based Gem Case LLC apparently averted the demise of yet another Rhode Island manufacturer.
Pawtucket-based “Interpak” announced last week that it has acquired Gem Case, a manufacturer of covered metal jewelry boxes, for an undisclosed amount. Interpak President John Kilmartin conceded that Gem Case, a competitor, had been “in danger of closing up” had the deal not been struck.
Instead, all of Gem Case’s 100 employees were offered jobs on Sept. 6, after they met with Interpak executives. Managers from both companies worked through the weekend of Sept. 8-9 to facilitate the transition to new management at Gem Case’s 40,000-square-foot facility in Cranston. The plant had been expected to re-open Sept. 10.
Kilmartin said Gem Case’s innovative manufacturing processes and its reputation for strong customer service should dovetail nicely with Interpak, which is a leading manufacturer and distributor of jewelry boxes, displays and packaging to jewelry manufacturers and retailers.
“Gem Case has certain technologies and know-how that we can now combine with out specialty technologies that should produce the premiere company in this business,” said Kilmartin.
Interpak, established in 1957 by Kilmartin’s father, Jack Kilmartin, sells its products to department stores, jewelry chains and mass merchandisers, including Wal-Mart, Zales and the U.S. Mint. Its customers also include consumer-product manufacturers such as A.T. Cross, Swank and Timex.
Interpak, which employs more than 600 workers, has its main operations at a 750,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility on Mineral Springs Avenue in Pawtucket. It also has facilities on School Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Pawtucket and a manufacturing plant in Maybole, Scotland.
Kilmartin said Gem Case’s lease on its facility in Cranston on First Avenue runs into next year, and he said he was not sure whether the company would remain there or find another location.
“This all happened very quickly, and we need to get our feet on the ground to see what our long-term plans are. But the boxes will be made in Rhode Island someplace,” Kilmartin said, adding that Interpak is pleased to be able to preserve jobs in a state that has been a jewelry industry hub.
“It’s a winning proposition,” said Glenn Thompson, chairman of Gem Case, which was founded in 1970. “The community wins by the maintenance of these local jobs and our customers win the benefit of access to Interpak’s product array.”