Selectmen support Yankee Candle sale
SOUTH DEERFIELD — Town leaders in the two host communities of Yankee Candle Co. have welcomed the candle company’s sale.
For years, the candle-making company has been based in Deerfield with a 209,000-square-foot factory in Whately. And for decades Yankee has given its two host towns thousands dollars in gifts, including scholarships and emergency vehicles.
On Tuesday, owners of Yankee Candle, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC announced plans to enter into a definitive purchase agreement with Jarden Corp. of Rye, N.Y. for $1.75 billion.
Jarden is a Fortune 500 company specializing in the sale of niche products like Mr. Coffee, Ball canning jars, Tubbs snowshoes and Coleman camping products.
“I don’t see it as anything but positive for the area,” said Whately Board of Selectmen member Jonathan Edwards. “It’ll be good for the town. I think it was bought by a company that has a history of understanding the retail business.”
Deerfield Board of Selectmen Chairman Mark Gilmore believed Yankee owners made a good deal.
“I think it would best serve the local community and Yankee Candle,” said Gilmore.
Yankee Candle is Franklin County’s largest employer, employing 1,600 people locally and 6,000 nationwide.
Whately Selectmen’s Chairman Paul Newlin said he believed the sale won’t cause any changes to employment.
“As far as I know, this group keep things local,” said Deerfield Selectman Carolyn Shores Ness. “They have a history of keeping places intact. I’m excited.”
With eight parcels of land in Deerfield and a factory in Whately, Yankee has been a large source of taxes for the two towns.
Last year, Yankee paid $229,696.39 in property taxes to Deerfield and another $134,923.76 to Whately.
Town leaders hope the agreement signals a future expansion.
“I hope they make Yankee Candle even bigger and stronger than it is and continue to expand jobs in the area,” Edwards said. “I look forward to working with the people who bought Yankee and continuing the relationship we’ve had.”
“I think it is a good thing and is probably a sign of expansion,” said Ness.
Whately Selectman Joyce Palmer Fortune could not be reached for comment.
Employees wouldn’t comment to the media, according to company policy. But spokesperson Karen Woods said the company held meetings for employees throughout the day Tuesday.
“We’re just making the announcement,” Woods said. “I think employees are excited about knowing what the next chapter is for Yankee Candle. The initial response has been positive.”
She said Yankee President and Chief Executive Officer Harlan Kent “keeps employees informed.”
With the change in ownership, Woods said employees could receive more benefits and discount prices associated with other Jarden Corp. products.
You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.