Volm Cos. Inc. of Antigo, Wis., is broadening its packaging product lines and incorporating a recent acquisition in the Pacific Northwest.
The deal closed Jan. 31, when family-owned Volm bought distributor Columbia Packaging LLC of Pasco, Wash. Four Columbia stockholders sold the business. Terms were not disclosed.
Volm Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Feinn said the company wants to leverage its experience supplying plastic bags to fruit and vegetable markets by serving new geographic areas and complementary markets.
At the time of the deal, Columbia employed 35 and had annual sales of about $16 million. The firm also had warehouses in Merrill, Ore., and Burlington, Wash. Two of the sellers remain with Volm: equipment specialist Dave Welch and purchasing expert Andy Sorn, now in a sales role.
Columbia Packaging was established in 1984 and began providing services to Volm in 1999.
``We bought Columbia to expand it and utilize economies of scale,'' Feinn said. ``We knew each other, and our cultures are similar.''
Volm does plastic film extrusion and bag manufacturing, and the firm also has a related machinery business.
Volm subsidiary Plaspack USA Inc. in Antigo operates three lines around the clock to extrude film for high density polyethylene machine-sewn mesh packaging applications.
In addition, Volm manufactures a range of plastic bags for heavy-duty industrial applications; laminated, wicketed and zipper-closure poly bags; and mesh bags. The company also imports and distributes paper bags and other products.
Volm machines include weighing equipment and automatic high-speed balers manufactured in Europe; as well as baggers, bag- closing systems and customized units made in Antigo. Optional systems with each weigher include baggers with carousel, wicket, poly-and-mesh roll stock and net-clipper characteristics.
The ability of growers to get higher prices for produce right now is creating higher demand for Volm's equipment, according to Feinn. Also, the retail market pays higher for premium fruits and produce, including individually wrapped potatoes and small-household portions, he said in a telephone interview.
In Emmen, Netherlands, Volm owns a 50 percent stake in Manter BV, which designs and manufactures equipment to weigh and package potatoes, fresh fruits, vegetables, processed meat and candy, and nonfood items such as birdseed and marbles.
Volm also has a large distribution facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho, which is part of its Yellowstone Plastics business. By June, Yellowstone plans to complete a 20,000-square-foot expansion, adding two flexographic printing presses. The project will give the plant a total of 70,000 square feet and five printing presses.
Volm was established as Volm Bag Inc. in 1953. The company's founders, Gerald Volm and his wife, Dorothy, were operating a general store in Bryant, Wis., and took on a line of burlap sacks for sale to the region's potato farmers.
Gerald Volm, who made sales calls long after leaving the management ranks, died April 25 at age 89. Dorothy Volm died in 2005.
Volm family heirs Alan Mueller and Jane Hunter own the business since acquiring the shares of two other family principals in late 2005. They hired Feinn as CEO.
The business changed its name in June 2006 from Volm Bag to Volm Cos., to adopt a broader identity, Feinn said. ``Our strategy is to grow, use the goodwill of the Volm name and move more into total solutions,'' he said. ``We have a legacy business that is designed to be around for at least another 50 years.''
Volm employs about 300 and has total annual sales of more than $100 million.