CHICAGO (July 24, 1:10 p.m. EDT) — Veriplas Containers Inc. President Thomas McCain remembers being on Bourbon Street in New Orleans in 2000 when a plastic bottle hit him in the head.
The source of the bottle erased any ill feeling about the soaring plastic. It was, it turns out, a bottle made by Veriplas.
McCain was there with Chief Financial Officer Brad Frieberg when the incident happened, the two officials recalled during a June 21 interview at NPE in Chicago.
“I said, 'Look, we've made it to Bourbon Street,' ” McCain said, adding that he felt sheer joy. “We worked like hell to get that first truckload out.”
Welcome to the world of Veriplas, circa 2006. The company, which was incorporated in July 1998, now has blow molding plants in Little Rock and Hot Springs, Ark., and plans to build or purchase sites for expansion in the Northeast and Southeast.
The company has boasted vertical integration since combining in 2004 with Mountain Valley Spring Co. in Hot Springs. The addition of the Mountain Valley Spring Plastics Division more than doubled its manufacturing capacity at that time.
Freight costs are pushing the need for expansion, McCain said.
The company also will grow through acquisition as it embarks on a plan to expand its core business of PET preforms and bottles. Officials will evaluate each opportunity as it arises, Frieberg said.
The company also is exploring the use of NatureWorks polylactide and is looking to develop relationships to gain traction for that product arena. Veriplas is in the research and development phase right now.
“We've got samples in front of our customers right now,” Frieberg said.
The company also produces 4-gallon one-way PET containers. It now uses 5 percent post-consumer resin and hopes to grow to 20 percent post-consumer in the next few years.