The company traces its roots to 1967, the year four men left Sunbeam Plastics — which later became Rexam — and set out on their own. They started a business called Imperial Plastics, adopting a crown symbol which still is a part of Berry Plastics' logo. Yet little in their rather humble beginning boded especially well for future success. Almost from the first, Imperial Plastics found itself beset with money troubles. Into those circumstances stepped Robert Morris, an entrepreneur in the grain business. Lacking experience in plastics, he was nonetheless willing to take a risk in a largely untried company. An opportunity arose when American Can, a maker of tin cans, failed in an attempt to produce plastic bowls. Imperial Plastics secured the use of the can company's molds and churned out bowls sold under the Dixie brand. By the end of the 1970s, Imperial Plastic's revenues reached $3 million. “That was the turning point,” [Chairman and CEO Ira] Boots said. Boots joined the company around the same time. He recalls a much smaller operation. In 1978, Imperial Plastics could boast of only four functional mold machines and about 40 employees. Those resources allowed it to churn out a box and a half of plastics parts each work shift.Today Berry Plastics is one of the biggest plastics processors in the world. The company ranks No. 3 on our most recent survey or North American injection molders, No. 7 among thermoformers, and No. 7 among film and sheet manufacturers. The story also quotes me: Evansville reporter Dan Shaw called me a few days ago for background on the company. It looks like he did a nice job. Congratulations to Berry on your success, and thanks for sharing your story.
Berry Plastics in the spotlight
The Evansville (Ind.) Courier has a nice feature story today about Berry Plastics Corp., focusing on the company's history and its successful growth strategy. I love these historical stories -- it's a great opportunity for a big local employer to tell its story to an important audience. Here's a bit from the Courier's story:
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