Colorado Springs / Aurora, Colorado
Colorado Springs / Denver
Industry: Industrial & Contract
Products: Custom boxes
A passion for corrugated cardboard runs in Davis' blood. He's a Colorado native and third-generation box manufacturer: His grandfather owned three box plants in Iowa, and his father, who founded Packaging Express to address an underserved niche in southern Colorado, was a partner in Denver's DeLine Box Company for more than 30 years.
"Our families are super-close," Davis explains. "My older brother is still a sales manager at DeLine, and we set up our company to be complementary to theirs." With a different mix of machinery in their 40,000-square-foot Colorado Springs and 30,000-square-foot Denver plants, Packaging Express can offer area customers additional custom corrugated solutions.
"We specialize in short runs -- meaning 1,000 or less -- of big boxes as well as die-cut boxes, die-cut inserts, and litho-labeled boxes," Davis says. "From a lithographic-label standpoint, we have more capabilities than anyone else in the state, or within 500 miles, for that matter."
Davis says the company's customers primarily use the litho-labeled boxes they manufacture for point of purchase displays, retail-type packaging, and signage. Packaging Express' two label laminators can accommodate 60-inch sheets of corrugated, allowing for large-scale designs.
"When we make a litho-labeled box, we take a printed sheet, add adhesive or glue to it, and then laminate it to corrugated cardboard before die cutting and gluing the box," he says.
Another option for customers who want boxes with colorful graphics is digital printing. Packaging Express recently bought a Xante four-color digital press that will accommodate a sheet size that's 48 inches by 96 inches.
"Customers can send us a high-res PDF and we can digitally print it onto the corrugated board," Davis explains. "That's pretty neat from a cost and speed standpoint and is perfect for smaller customers who may want their logo and website, for example, on their box but not have the quantities to justify the printing plates. Digital printing will save our customers a lot of upfront money in short to medium size production runs."
Packing Express has customers in dozens of industries. "That's the fun thing about the box business. We don't have one industry that just dominates; we sell to anybody and everybody," says Davis. "Any company in Colorado that is putting something in a box is our market."
Lately, they've been working with a lot of food and beverage clients. "That's where the digital press is really useful, for the microbreweries and microdistilleries that are doing smaller batches," he says.
Davis' company has seen double-digit growth over the last five years, and he expects that trend to continue now that they've doubled their production capacity with the addition of their new Denver plant. "We're really optimistic," he says. "You could say we're kind of out of excuses now, if you will. Our plant is operational, our employees are trained, and we're ready for 2017."
Challenges: "Our biggest challenge is getting the word out that we are here in Colorado," Davis says. "We've always flown under the radar in a lot of ways, but by adding the plant in Denver, we can now service the Denver area and northern Colorado in addition to southern Colorado and the Western Slope."
Opportunities: Davis sees the company's previously untapped market as a big opportunity. "It seems like most of the business growth in the state is taking place in Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins," he says. "We'd like a piece of that."
Needs: Simply put, "Customer awareness," Davis says. "That's what we need more than anything."