Curtis Packaging

When consumers buy a product, they usually discard the box it was packaged in. But when products come in Curtis Packaging’s boxes, consumers tend to keep them due to their unique coatings. “It’s all about the tactile feel. Curtis has a myriad of coatings, including soft touch, high pile, grit, iridescence, matte/gloss and microencapsulation,” Vice President of Sales Mike Simko says.

Based in Sandy Hook, Conn., Curtis Packaging provides luxury packaging to a variety of sectors. Members of the Curtis family started the company in 1845 and ran it until 1980, when Nelson Curtis sold the firm to five of its executives.

When the executives wanted to retire, they sold it to Don Droppo Sr., a partner at the company’s accounting firm, Peat Marwick. “He always wanted to own a company,” Simko explains, noting that Droppo’s son, President and CEO Don Droppo, Jr., is now its owner and the elder Droppo serves as its chairman.

Today, Curtis Packaging employs a staff of 165 and enjoys longevity among its employees. “The average tenure is over 20 years,” Simko says, adding the some workers have more than 40 years with the company.  

“Curtis has always treated our employees with respect and allows them the creativity needed to adapt to an ever changing environment,” Don Droppo Jr. explains. “When you give people cutting edge tools, they appreciate the reinvestment.”

Curtis Packaging serves multiple markets, including sporting goods, cosmetics, liquor and pharmaceuticals.  “Our largest customer is Titleist,” Simko says. “We’ve been working with Titleist for over 60 years!” Curtis’ clients also include Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Brown Forman and Godiva.  

Curtis Packaging strives to continuously improve by being compliant with the ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard as well as the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard.  Curtis uses the latest techniques for continuous improvement for both quality and operations by properly executing Six Sigma and lean manufacturing tools throughout its operations.  

Recently, Curtis Packaging invested in new scanning densitometry and spectrophotometry equipment, which continuously monitors the press conditions to insure that the company is maintaining the G7 requirements. “We like to benchmark ourselves to international standards that are recognized worldwide for excellence,” says Kerry Brown, vice president of operations.  

By implementing these tools and improved processes, Curtis Packaging is continuously seeing improvements in its quality as well as its productivity. “This allows Curtis Packaging to stay ahead of the curve in regards to product development, because we are always looking at what is next in regard to technology and processes that will allow us to be cutting edge,” Brown says.

Going Further

Curtis Packaging is the only folding carton company in the country that uses renewable energy to power its plant and is carbon neutral. Curtis Packaging has partnered with the Yale School of Forestry in regard to its sustainability efforts. Curtis Packaging is 100 percent landfill free and recycles 98 percent of its waste.  

“We are continuously looking for new ways to break new ground in regard to sustainability.  We look at everything we do to insure that we are being socially responsible,” Brown says.  “It is part of our DNA.”  

Cool Under Pressure

Curtis Packaging is coping with a very competitive marketplace. “We stay ahead of our competition through numerous printing innovations, superior quality, short lead times and first-class customer service,” Simko says.  

Despite the challenges, Simko predicts a strong future for the company, which will include more innovation. “We’ve had our finger on the trigger of buying a digital printing press for years,” Simko says.  “Each year the technology gets better and closer to litho offset.

“Luxury packaging is here to say,” he continues, noting that other industries like greeting cards are dying off.  

“In fact, one of the few bright spots in printing these days is in packaging,” Droppo explains. “Folding cartons are the medium for a brand to display its powerful message. And when you have a 170-year heritage like we do, we know how to do it well!”

Brown sees growth for Curtis Packaging, particularly when it comes to products. “In May, we just introduced Near Field Communications into our packaging,” Brown says. “We are the first folding carton company in the United States to offer this technology. This could be a big game changer for packaging.”  

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