Companies To Watch: Frankston Packaging

Frankston Packaging, based in Frankston, TX, USA, boasts a rich history – but the label and narrow web space was not a part of the original vision. Gulf States established the company in 1957, and it originated as a manufacturer of folding cartons. Gulf States would eventually sell the company to three individuals who ran Frankston Packaging until 2000, when its current ownership group, headed by Norm Bullock and Kyle Eldred, bought the company.

Under Bullock and Eldred, Frankston Packaging has harnessed multiple opportunities for growth. The company’s story has been highlighted by expansion into new markets and significant M&A activity. For Bullock and Eldred, they established a goal of providing a one-stop shop for all of their customers’ packaging needs – from labels to folding cartons.

Frankston Packaging’s expansions and acquisitions have been numerous. It acquired Day Packaging, a folding carton company in Sherman, TX, in 2009, which allowed the team to move an assortment of equipment into the Frankston facility. Then in the following year, ownership reinvested $7 million into new equipment. In 2015, however, Bullock and Eldred made the pivot into the label and package film printing space. The purchase of a Nilpeter FB 4200 allowed Frankston Packaging to enter the labels and snack wraps markets as a flexo printer. This spurred several acquisitions in the label space. In 2017, Frankston Packaging acquired Label-Pak, a label manufacturer based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and in 2019 the company added Butson Labels.

“We got into the narrow web market when we bought the new Nilpeter FB 4200, as well as an Ashe slitter-rewinder and a few tabletop rewinders,” recalls Bullock. “The goal was to provide our existing folding carton customers with one-stop shopping for labels and film. Additionally, we were constantly being told that managing brand colors across multiple substrates and vendors was difficult. This was an opportunity for us to add value for our customers in the area of color management.”

The acquisitions did not stop there, though. In fact, the company has branched out from its Texas location. Following the 2020 acquisition of Tyler, TX-based Paco Label, Frankston Packaging purchased Customer Printed Products, which has label manufacturing locations in Bossier City, LA, and Edinburg, VA.

Today, Eldred serves the company as CEO and Bullock operates as COO. They are joined by Scott Lee, CFO. The management team presides over a considerable amount of manufacturing space, as the Frankston location has 95 employees operating out of 85,000 square feet. Meanwhile, the Tyler location has 35 employees working on 28,000 square feet. Outside of Texas, 65 employees work on 51,000 square feet in Bossier City, and another 23 employees call the Edinburg, VA, plant, which spans 25,000 square feet, home.

“Our employees are the key to our success,” says Bullock. “From sales to estimating, to production and back-office support, they touch the customer in a variety of ways. They help ensure on-time deliveries, quality product, design expertise, invoicing and so much more. When customers visit our facilities, they are amazed at how professional and cooperative our employees are.”

These traits have certainly been on display as the company has navigated numerous industry challenges, from the pandemic to the supply chain. “The last two years have clearly been a challenge for everyone,” adds Bullock. “During covid, we worked hard to provide a safe working environment for everyone, and the employees responded by showing up every day and diligently working to provide product for our customers. The same is true for the supply chain disruptions we have all faced in the last few years. Getting raw material in was difficult and frustrating for our employees, but they understood and were more than willing to do whatever it took in order to turn product for our customers, the once raw materials were on-hand.”

As a one-stop shop for various packaging needs, Frankston also boasts a versatile book of business. “We really don’t focus on any one market,” states Bullock. “Food is the largest market we serve, but we also service the beverage, health and beauty, pharma, industrial, petroleum markets, and more.

“When we walk into a customer’s office, we can offer them more than just one packaging product,” he adds. “We can offer them folding cartons, pressure sensitive labels, in-mold labeling, shrink sleeves, film, corrugated, litho-laminated boxes and ribbons. More importantly, we offer them unparalleled levels of service, support and quality, as well as on-time deliveries.”

With numerous facilities, Frankston Packaging has developed a strong working relationship with many key suppliers. According to Bullock, the company’s partners range from Bobst and Heidelberg to Nilpeter and Mark Andy. “Both Heidelberg and Bobst have been key partners in our growth via training and support, which includes maintenance,” states Bullock. “In addition, Esko, Fujifilm and Sun Chemical have been key providers for us with prepress and inks and coatings.”

Sustainability has played a significant role in Frankston Packaging’s operations. The company has gone to great lengths to ensure that its packaging solutions are as environmentally-friendly as possible. According to Bullock, Frankston recycles 99% of the materials consumed in its operations, and the company offers FSC certification, as well.

“For our flexo operations, we work very closely with our suppliers and customers to provide them with sustainable/recyclable alternatives to legacy PSLs,” he notes. “We are also a large provider of IML, which is more recyclable. We also only use PET or BOPP for our shrink sleeves, which is much more environmentally-friendly than PETG or PVC.”

Bullock notes that Frankston Packaging has lofty goals for the future, too. In the folding carton space, the company is currently adding capacity to its Tray Forming Dept. Plus, Frankston expects to continue adding presses, folder-gluers, and more to support growth. “We are also looking to grow inorganically to expand our product offerings and geographic presence,” he says.

The same holds true for the the label and narrow web operations. “We have substantial available capacity to continue growing organically,” explains Bullock. “We will also grow inorganically via continued acquisitions. We will continue to add equipment as needed to support this growth, whether its digital or other equipment such as presses, slitter-rewinders, seamers, inspection and other assorted products.”

Published:  October 11, 2022
Editor: Greg Hrinya

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