When Farber Plastics Inc. owner Lewis Farber looks to his company's future, he sees the letters P-E-T.
In September, the 35-year-old Freeport, N.Y.-based firm will add a PET sheet extrusion line for the second time in three years. Prior to 2007, all of Farber Plastics' work had been done in polystyrene sheet.
But things have changed and the firm has adapted, Lewis Farber said in a recent phone interview.
We're the only custom PET sheet company in the New York area, he said. We're turning away work and we've got a five- to six-week backlog of orders. My whole focus is PET.
Our original business was polystyrene, but now it's only 25 percent of our sales, and we're considering eliminating it as a product. We used to have three polystyrene extrusion lines, but we closed and sold one off earlier this year.
Farber's PET sheet has gained market share in packaging for food, cosmetics and consumer goods as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers have urged their suppliers to move away from PVC, Farber added. PVC has come under fire for alleged health risks, leading to reduced use of the material at Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and Sears.
With all the negative publicity around PVC, customers have been forced to transition away from it, he said.
In PS, Farber said that the increasing price of the raw material and the growth in size of competitors such as Spartech Corp. and Primex Plastics Corp. make it hard for a small guy to compete.
The new PET line already has been delivered and can make sheet up to 52 inches in width, with thicknesses ranging from 10-45 millimeters. The new line represents an investment of about $1 million for the firm, and will create six new jobs.
Lewis Farber founded the firm in 1974 with his father, the late George Farber.
Farber Plastics currently employs 26 in a 35,000-square-foot space and is on pace for sales of $8.5 million in 2009, after totaling $7 million in 2008.
Copyright 2009 Crain Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.