W.B. Mason leases longtime Norwich company Consumer's Interstate

Consumers Interstate employee Richard Sherman loads delivery trucks at the Norwich facility Sept. 6, 2005.  The company is leasing its facilities to office supply giant W.B. Mason, it announced Monday.  (Tim Cook/photo)
Consumers Interstate employee Richard Sherman loads delivery trucks at the Norwich facility Sept. 6, 2005. The company is leasing its facilities to office supply giant W.B. Mason, it announced Monday. (Tim Cook/photo)

Norwich – W.B. Mason, the nation’s second largest office supply company founded in 1898, with its signature bright yellow and red logo and trucks, has partnered with Consumer’s Interstate, a 70-year-old family owned office and janitorial supply company in the Norwich business park.

Staff at the Norwich facility at 2 Consumer’s Ave. now answer the phones: “W.B. Mason, formerly Consumer’s Interstate.” The affiliation took effect last week, and W.B. Mason and Consumer’s Interstate issued a joint statement Monday saying W.B. Mason has secured a long-term lease and already is running its trucks out of the Norwich facility.

“W.B. Mason’s business model is one of customer intimacy and old time values,” the joint statement said. “Consumer’s Interstate has shared this philosophy since their beginnings in 1947, through two generations of ownership by Kenn Fischburg and family. W.B. Mason is thrilled to be partnering with such a strong local company in the marketplace and will look to bring jobs to the City of Norwich.”

W.B. Mason, headquartered in Brockton, Mass., plans to expand the 2 Consumer’s Ave. facility by bringing a Contract Furniture Showroom, a Whatta Bargain Super Store – W.B. Mason’s used furniture outlet – and a Chef’s Supply, the company’s restaurant supply grab-n-go business, to the Norwich business park site.

“We will tirelessly work to increase the service levels and boost product selection to both our customer bases throughout New England,” the statement said.

W.B. Mason in 2011 bought the longtime downtown office supply store J. Solomon on Bank Street in New London, later converting it to a Whatta Bargain outlet. Within two years, however, it had quietly vacated the space that now is occupied by The Social restaurant and bar.

Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom said he will schedule a meeting soon to meet with W.B. Mason officials in Norwich to discuss the city’s resources and amenities, including the city-owned Norwich Public Utilities.

“They’re a solid company,” Nystrom said. “We certainly welcome W.B. Mason to Norwich.”

W.B. Mason Director of Marketing Matthew Rogers said the companies would not disclose financial details of the partnership.

Fischburg, the CEO of Consumer’s Interstate, could not be reached for comment Monday.

According to Consumer’s interstate’s website, Fischburg is the sole stockholder of the company his father founded in 1947 as Consumer’s Paper and Supply Corp. The company became Consumer’s Interstate in 2009. Fischburg started working at the business in 1971, and took over as president in 1982.

Consumer’s Interstate has a network of 85 nationwide partner warehouse locations and delivers more than 150,000 products nationwide. The company’s fleet of trucks that operates out of the Norwich warehouse and corporate headquarters serves Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the website said.

The joint statement called the Norwich facility “an ideal location for W.B. Mason to increase service levels to the Eastern CT marketplace.”

c.bessette@theday.com

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