Returnable packaging specialist Sertapak Group Packaging Systems Inc. is opening its first U.S. site, leasing space in Portland, Tenn.
The Woodstock, Ontario-based company will take possession of the 70,000-square-foot facility March 1 and begin production by May 1, said President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Nettleton.
The company will move five senior executives to the site and hire 40 people within the next 18 months, he said. Sertapak hopes to up those employment figures to more than 100 people after two years, similar to the numbers at its Ontario facility, he said.
The Tennessee site primarily will replicate work done by the 23-year-old company in Woodstock, Nettleton said. The firm designs, does prototype testing, develops and assembles packaging mainly for automotive customers.
The company buys packaging products from outside suppliers, including thermoformed trays, metal racks, bins and totes, and protective packaging. Sertapak works with single-use corrugated packaging on occasion for some automotive customers.
Sertapak also sequences and sorts packages, taking truckloads of parts from customers and repacking them in different containers, he said.
The new site puts Sertapak in a growing region for the auto industry. Several automakers and suppliers already have contacted the company about working for them in the Southeast, Nettleton said.
``Nashville was a natural choice,'' he said. ``Almost all our customers are migrating South, where the population is moving. In our work, we do need to be close to customers and not in some remote area.''
The company has an option to add 40,000 square feet of space, Nettleton said. Sertapak will spend about $500,000 in equipment.