It’s a Family Affair: Paperboard Businesses Through the Generations

6/14/2018

PPC represents a sizable $10 billion industry. But did you know that many of our members are small, independent, family-owned businesses? These companies pass ownership down from generation to generation, making a rich investment in their communities and family legacies. At the end of the day, it’s all about people serving people!

 

Here are snapshots of four multi-generational PPC member companies who have made excellent contributions to our industry. 

Hub Folding Box

Francesco DiRico founded Hub Folding Box Company, Inc. in 1918 in Boston—the “hub” of New England. Though it was his first business, DiRico had been in the folding carton industry since he was 14. After emigrating from Italy to New Haven, CT, he met an executive from National Folding Box—the first folding carton company in the United States—who offered him a job. By age 25, DiRico had already become a diemaker and a packaging designer. 

 

Eventually DiRico moved back to Italy to visit family and marry. Then he returned to Boston where he opened Hub after working at another carton plant for some time. Today, the firm is in its third generation of family ownership. Tony DiRico serves as president, while Jack, Joe and Mark DiRico hold various leadership positions in management, sales, engineering, and manufacturing. (All pictured right.)

 

Over the years, the DiRico family has consistently worked to integrate its family values of collaboration, innovation, and creativity into daily operations. This year, Hub celebrated its 100-year anniversary. Clearly, those values are an asset! 

Pioneer Packaging

Pioneer Packaging, Inc. is a Massachusetts-based company that has been in business for 72 years. Gordon Shinners founded the firm in 1946 with the goal of providing fast turnaround service and a quality product. As Pioneer Packaging grew, offering printed folding cartons, thermoformed plastics, and contract packaging, Shinners felt a strong need to keep the business independent and family owned. After all, that independence allowed them to be flexible and to quickly respond to customers’ needs.

 

Shinners’ vision became reality. Today Pioneer is in its third generation of family leadership. In the 1960s, Shinners’ son, Jeff, came on board, and today serves as President of the firm. Jill, Jeff’s daughter, started in the 80s. As Vice President of Sales, Jill makes sure the presses keep on running with new business. 

Together, Jeff and Jill continue to focus on outstanding customer service, reliability, and creative problem solving. They have also modernized the company, investing in a new 96,000 square foot facility with the most efficient equipment on the market. Surely, the Shinners family will continue to pioneer outstanding packaging solutions in the coming decades.

Southern Champion Tray

Southern Champion Tray (SCT) was founded in 1927 as a Chattanooga, TN subsidiary of an Ohio-based company. Manufacturing paperboard food trays, the fledgling company survived both the Great Depression and World War II before going independent in 1947 under new majority owner, Milt Zeiser. With his love of the machine shop, Milt was able to make paper-converting machines do things no one else had, and his customer-focused insights led to business success.

Milt’s son, Chuck, joined SCT full-time in 1958, ushering in the second generation of Zeiser leadership. Appointed President in 1968, Chuck brought a strong sense of stewardship to the business, solidifying both the infrastructure and culture of SCT.

Chuck’s sons joined SCT full-time in the 80s, beginning a third generation of Zeiser leadership. John joined the company in 1982 and Bruce in 1986. In 1993, John and Bruce took the reins for SCT. Today, the company employs 650 people and serves customers in over 15 countries. The Zeiser family is grateful for God’s blessings on the family and company for three generations so far. With two members of the 4th generation involved and 91 years of steady growth behind them, they hope to eventually join the 100-year club that several PPC members belong to.

Taylor Box Co.

Dan Shedd told the Rhode Island Monthly that, while growing up in the 60s, his father would frequently suggest to him that he might run the company one day. After graduating from the University of Rhode Island in 1974, Dan did go to work for the company as a salesman.  In 1979 he became President when his father retired. Dan purchased the company from the family for full market value when he was 46 years old.  

The family’s involvement in rigid boxes began when Howard Scholes originally purchased it from Clarence Taylor in the early 1920s.  Subsequently, Shedd’s mother inherited the company in the late 1960s from Scholes. Her husband, Martin Shedd, who had joined the company immediately after WWII, became President. 

When he retired and passed management of the rigid box manufacturing facility to his two sons, they decided Dan would be President and handle sales and administration while the younger brother, Dave, would focus his copious talents on manufacturing and design.  The brothers led the company through the 80s when much of its business was based on Rhode Island’s once-booming jewelry industry. In the 90s the company pivoted toward higher end luxury and marketing packaging where they are a market leader today. 

In 2015 Shedd’s daughter, Marken, joined the company and today is the Director of Business Development and Digital Strategy—taking the Shedd legacy into the future as the family’s 4th generation of rigid box makers at Taylor Box Company. (Shedd family pictured.)

Are you a family-owned PPC member company? If so, we want to hear your story! Reach out and we can feature you in our next installment of family snapshots.

family business
folding carton
multi generational
paperboard packaging
rigid box
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