Washington firm building new packaging plant in Lowell

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,538 views 

A custom packaging company from the Pacific Northwest broke ground March 17 on a 60,000-square-foot production plant in Benton County.

The BoxMaker, a manufacturer of digitally printed (inkjet and toner) packaging based in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Wash., will produce full-color custom corrugated boxes and retail displays inside the facility west of Interstate 49 at 200 Grant Place, south of Arkansas Highway 264 in Lowell.

Oelke Construction of Lowell is the general contractor.

Richard Brown, president and co-owner of The BoxMaker, said the digital production equipment will be industry-leading, including an HP PageWide C500 printing press and a fleet of high-speed tool-less digital cutting machines. Brown said The BoxMaker will be the first company in the U.S. to operate two C500 machines. The company installed the first in its Washington plant in 2018.

“The future of packaging is digital,” Brown said. “We are proud to be a leader in this space, having invested in digital print and finishing equipment for the past decade. Our expansion into Arkansas will allow The BoxMaker and our e-commerce web-to-print platform Fantastapack.com to more effectively serve companies across the country in need of custom printed packaging with cost-effective shipping and exceptional lead times.”

Richard Brown

According to Ohio-based consulting firm Smithers, by 2022, the rapidly expanding digital packaging market will grow by almost 13% annually to exceed $22 billion.

The BoxMaker entered the Arkansas market late last year when it acquired Tango Press, a digital printing and packaging startup in Springdale. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John Ballentine and Steve Toth started Tango Press in 2016 as an all-digital production plant for corrugated packaging and displays. The company operates in a 15,000-square-foot facility near Interstate 49 in Springdale.

Equipment and staff from the Springdale plant will begin working and operating out of The BoxMaker’s new facility in Lowell later this year.

A spokeswoman for The BoxMaker said Toth will leave the company voluntarily. Ballentine will continue in a leadership role.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of The BoxMaker,” said Ballentine, who is now director of trade business for The BoxMaker. “This new facility will greatly enhance our capacity to rapidly print and convert high graphics packaging for our clients and trade partners across the country, allowing us to be a powerfully adaptive part of their packaging supply chain.”

Full production is expected to begin in Lowell on Sept. 1.

The BoxMaker launched in 1981 and has offered digitally produced corrugated packaging, display and labels since 2011. It has seven locations throughout Washington and Oregon.

Through its GP Tango LLC, the company paid $645,000 for the 2.84-acre site ($5.21 per square foot) in Lowell in January. Grant Parkway Flex LLC, managed by Jordan Jeter, was the seller. First National Bank of NWA backed the purchase with a five-year loan worth $4.25 million.

A separate development broke ground recently on Grant Place. An investment group led by Justin Ferguson and John Kushniroff is partnering with Oelke Construction to build a 10,890-square-foot medical office building. Approximately 68% of the building is pre-leased to two medical tenants.

“We are really excited about the growth we are seeing in Lowell right now and are extremely grateful that The BoxMaker chose to build in Lowell,” Mayor Chris Moore said. “The new jobs being created are a welcome addition and will only spur other growth along Highway 264.”