Some companies follow the lead of others, but Tech II Inc. sets itself apart, President Eric Shiffer says. “Our strategy is to be different and to offer unique solutions to our customers,” he says. 

Based in Springfield, Ohio, Tech II manufactures injection-molded, thermoformed and in-mold-label thermoformed plastic lids and containers for many Fortune 500 food companies. Shiffer’s parents, Leah and Jerry Shiffer, founded the company in a small maintenance garage in 1969.

“Our humble beginnings started in a 15,000-square-foot building where we initially built our business serving the automotive and aircraft industries,” Eric Shiffer explains. “As the business grew, we branched out into injection-molded lids, which became our core business. Over time, Tech II began injection molding containers to compliment the lid portfolio.”

Pulver Packaging is a third-generation family business. President Patrick Pulver has carried the expertise of his father and grandfather into the company, continuing the family’s tradition of providing high-quality folding cartons to a diversified collection of customers with speed, efficiency and attentiveness. 

Pulver’s grandfather started a folding carton plant in 1958, and Patrick started working there upon finishing school. Pulver’s father eventually took over the company, but fell ill soon after, and Patrick founded Pulver Packaging in June of 2000. Even though the company is relatively new, it still operates under the same values the Pulver family brought to its previous operation, and in many cases with the same employees. “Those family values still exist, and we do still consider ourselves a third-generation family business,” Pulver says, adding that he has worked with many of the people on staff at the company for more than 20 years. 

Establishing a unique and recognized brand is critical to retail bakers.  With so many grocery and supermarket companies consolidating in recent years, it can be difficult for brand owners – especially private-label brands – to have products that truly stand out from the competition.

For Indiana Carton, helping grocery and supermarket bakery managers establishing a consistent, lasting brand is what truly differentiates it from its competition. “Another advantage that sets us apart is that we are very nimble – our quick reaction to customer needs is unsurpassed,” says Ken Petty, president of the Bremen, Ind.-headquartered company. 

In the past 15 years, the folding carton manufacturer has shifted its emphasis from simple one-size fits most stock boxes to highly specialized custom boxes intended for program use. Indiana Carton specializes in the design, creation and manufacture of boxes used to merchandise baked goods including cakes, pies and donuts. The company creates boxes for both regional and nationwide grocery retailers.

Many firms are adopting environmentally conscious practices, but very few are like Green Bay Packaging Inc., which was green even before it was popular, Senior Vice President of Coated Products Operations Marty Olson says. “It’s just a way of life for us,” he states.

Based in Green Bay, Wis., Green Bay Packaging manufactures corrugated shipping containers, structural and graphically designed boxes, folding cartons and label stock. Founder George F. Kress started the company in 1933 to offer customers the corrugated containers as alternatives to wooden boxes.

As he sought to build a better box, Kress built a paper mill in 1948 to ensure that the company had a large, steady paper supply. Today, this philosophy of reverse integration is a main part of Green Bay Packing’s philosophy, and has brought it success with its folding cartons and coated label products.

Fusion Paperboard may be a relatively young brand, but the company is based in a Connecticut paper mill that has operated for decades and was once a Federal Paper Board Co. property. Today, Fusion Paperboard is an independent producer of high-performance coated recycled paperboard that is used in folding cartons and packaging for major food and consumer product manufacturers in North America. 

“We are based at a 400,000-square-foot mill with our own 20MW generator and full water treatment system on about 500 acres in eastern Connecticut,” Vice President of Sales and Marketing Hank Somer says. “Federal Paper Board built the mill in the 1960s, and over the years it was sold several times. The mill has changed names and hands, but the character of the mill and many of our employees have stayed the same.”  

Many printing and packaging industry trends have come and gone during Accord Carton’s nearly 75 years in business. Instead of following fads such as foil embossing or adding trendy coating and ink processes that would require significant investment only to eventually fall by the wayside, the Alsip, Ill.-based company thrives by focusing on its core capabilities.

“We’ve really embraced the notion of stick to what you do best,” Vice President and co-owner Bill Codo says. “We focus heavily on mainstay products instead of chasing what’s hot at the moment.”

For the company, sticking to its strengths means using state-of-the-art technology to produce high-quality folding cartons for the food and beverage industry. Accord’s products include six-pack cartons, dry food packaging and frozen food packages. The company also provides packaging design, prepress, warehousing and shipping services. 

In 1954, Rene J. Leclair purchased a company that was on the verge of bankruptcy. The company, St. Johns Packaging, located in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, manufactured wax paper for local bakeries and meat packers. When Leclair purchased the company it operated from a 5,000-square-foot plant with 10 employees. Today, it employs more than 500 people in five manufacturing facilities in three countries. From 1954 to today, nearly everything about the company has changed, excepting the family in charge.

Schweitzer-Mauduit (SWM) International Inc. says it is not just a manufacturer but also an “innovation engine” for the tobacco industry worldwide. “We are pursuing a strategic transformation, driving growth through continuous innovation for customers and ourselves,” it says.

Based in Alpharetta, Ga., the company says it is the world’s largest producer of cigarette papers. “Our estimated worldwide share of the cigarette paper market is 36 percent, excluding China, which is largely self-sufficient,” SWM says.

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