Southern Louisiana is an important area for plastics, with its concentration of chemical plants and resin producers, but until now, there haven't been many plastic bag makers. That is why Michael Tan set up his new company, Gulf Coast Plastics Inc., in the New Orleans suburb of Harahan.
``There is less competition here,'' Tan said in a telephone interview. ``We are convinced that the plastic bag market will continue to expand, and that we have the chance to establish ourselves here.''
Gulf Coast began production recently in its 50,000-square-foot facility, making a range of high density polyethylene bags, including T-shirt grocery sacks. He said he hopes to provide bags to regional grocery store chains, and expects his sales to ap-proach $20 million to $25 million in the first year.
Tan would not disclose how many bag lines are operating at the plant, but said that in addition to making the bags, Gulf Coast is extruding its own film, and offers a full range of flexographic printing capabilities.
Tan's experience in plastics comes from his family's involvement with the industry in the Far East.
``My family owns Heng Soon Ltd., a trading company based in Malaysia,'' he said. ``The company sells packaging machinery, plastics color additives, and chemicals in numerous countries in the Pacific Rim.''
Gulf Coast has an in-house sales force that will focus on the northeastern United States, where he believes the biggest bag customers are based.