Taking the Long View

Finch Paper, based in Glens Falls, N.Y., has been in business for 144 years—but only the past 114 as a paper manufacturer. During the past 12 months or so, the company has been re-creating itself to lay the foundation for its next 100 years.

Established in 1865 as a lumber company known as Finch Pruyn, it initially served the boom in building (or rebuilding) following the U.S. Civil War. Forty years later, the company turned its attention to making paper, and has survived and thrived through the many economic ups and downs, wars, market shifts and printing innovations of the 20th Century.

While this is quite a feat in itself, today’s Finch Paper Co. earned FSC certification last November, named a new president and CEO in February, and has launched four new uncoated paper brands this year. As a sign of the times, most of these new brands are digital papers.

Finch produces 700 tons of uncoated paper annually. Though small compared to its competitors, such as conglomerates International Paper and Domtar, Finch holds its own in the marketplace by focusing on producing quality text and cover, and opaque stocks in white and off-white shades.

Within these categories, Finch’s text and cover for general offset printing includes their Finch Premium Blend, which contains 30 percent post-consumer fiber and offers a 99 brightness for quality four-color printing; and Finch Fine, with 10 percent post-consumer fiber, in three white shades and two finishes, designed for most types of commercial offset printing.

Finch Opaque for direct mail, inserts, books, newsletters and similar work, comes in more than 100 stocked sizes, the company says. It’s available in Bright White, Cream White, and Vanilla shades, and in Smooth and Vellum/Wove finishes. Recommended for similar applications, Finch Casa Opaque is made with 30 percent post-consumer fibers and is offered in Bright White and in Smooth and Vellum/Wove finishes. Both opaque papers are available in 40-lb. text to 100-lb. cover.

Digital Brands

The newest additions to Finch’s product line are six brands designed for use in digital presses.

These include Finch Fine Digital, with a 98 brightness and ultra-smooth finish and, like most Finch digital stocks, 10 percent post-consumer fiber, is offered in 70-lb. text to 100-lb. cover stocks; Finch Fine iD, developed for the HP Indigo, can be ordered in Bright White or Vanilla shades, offers a smooth finish and has been RIT-tested for Electroink adherence; Finch Fine Color Copy with a 98 brightness, introduced in June; Finch Opaque Digital, also certified to run on the Indigo, with 96 brightness and in weights from 60-lb. text to 100-lb. cover; Finch Casa Opaque Digital, a premium paper with 30 percent post-consumer fiber, also available in 60-lb. text to 80-lb. cover; and Finch Laser, with high-heat tolerance and “excellent opacity” Finch said, designed for general office applications.

Reduce, Recycle, Re-use

In addition to positioning itself as a supplier to both offset and digital printers, Finch is committed to environmental stewardship. For over a century, the company owned and sustainably managed more than 160,000 acres of forestland located within New York State’s Adirondack Park, an area known for its biological and ecological diversity. Two years ago, Finch sold its forest holdings to The Nature Conservancy and, though Finch no longer owns the land, its team of foresters continue to manage it, supplying the Finch mill with FSC- and FSI-certified wood.

Joseph F. Raccuia, who joined Finch as president and CEO only seven months ago, noted: “Finch Paper continues to be synonymous with responsible, sustainable forestry. The long-term health of our paper mill is directly tied to the long-term health and availability of a healthy, growing forest resource—and we are committed to helping keep those forests healthy and growing for generations to come.”

Consulting Services

Extending its forestry expertise and experience, in June, Finch announced that it will offer forestry consulting services to outside companies and organizations.

“Most forest owners today are private families, many of whom find themselves under unprecedented financial pressures that threaten the future of their forests,” Finch noted in a statement. “Rising property taxes in particular make the cost of owning forestland increasingly burdensome.”

Often, these privately owned lands are sold for development or for timber cutting, which takes the healthiest trees. In these cases, forests are lost forever or can take years to recover.

Finch’s credentialed forestry consultants provide owners with strategic management methods for harvesting trees in a sustainable way, and advice on gaining FSC and FSI certifications.

Roger Dziengeleski, vice president at Finch and a certified forester, heads up the program. “It’s not enough to simply use certified wood in our products,” he said. “We’re working to ensure that our nation’s forests remain as forests for generations to come.”

With both new and refreshed uncoated paper products for today’s printing technologies and its innovative approach to sustainability, Finch, too, is set to last for years to come.

Jeanette Clinkunbroomer is a freelance writer based in the Chicago area. She’s worked in the printing and paper industry for more than 20 years.