March 4, 2015

Western Container: A WBD Success Story

Western Container is a Beloit (Rock County) based manufacturer of spiral wound paper tubes and precision cores. They convert recycled paperbound ribbons into spiral wound cylinders for the winding, converting and packaging industries. Started in 1942, the company originally supplied paper caps to a highway and railroad flare manufacturer. The company grew to include the labeled can market during the 70's and 80's, supplying grated cheese, coffee creamer and sugar composite cans. In 1999 and 2000 the company expanded again, producing converting and film cores.

In September of 2013, owner Jeffrey Perrigo saw an opportunity to purchase a new winder and inline multi-knife cutter machine. With the help of an SBA 504 loan and financing through Gateway Community Bank, Jeffrey was able to purchase the new machine. With the addition, Western Container is now able to compete for larger jobs and be more competitive. The new machine also gives them a sixth production line and backup capability, when their other machines require maintenance, ensuring their orders will be filled on time. Utilizing the greater flexibility the new equipment offers, Western Container was able to hire four additional workers.

According to Jeffrey, the SBA 504 program allowed the company to spread its investment cost over a 10-year amortization, and lock in the interest rate for 40% of the project, for the same period. Wisconsin Business Development (WBD) and Gateway Community Bank were great partners in guiding the company through the complex process.

This was actually the fourth loan originated by WBD on behalf of Western Container.  The four loans totaling approximately $1.5MM, including three for equipment and one to accommodate a real estate expansion, have allowed the company to double sales, increase its workforce from 24 to 35 employees (a 45% increase) and expand its building from 30,000 to 47,000 square feet.  Western Container is currently seeking approval on a fifth loan for $450,000 which would allow it to add an additional 10,000 square feet to its building and hire 5 additional employees.