Vav Plastics Inc., a Valencia, Calif.-based PET container blow molder, opened a second manufacturing plant in Charlotte, N.C., earlier this year.
The company's business shifted quickly in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic created heavy demand for containers for hand sanitizer. Now it is shifting back to water bottles, owner Hovik Pashyan said in a recent telephone interview.
"We serve local and national customers. We specialize in large, narrow-neck containers," Pashyan said. Most of Vav's containers are 2 liters and larger.
"We started in 2007, in a very small space in Burbank," he said. The current Valencia headquarters plant is 10 times larger than the initial space, he said. The company has always made only PET containers, mainly for beverage customers.
Since large containers are expensive to ship, Vav opened an East Coast location in Charlotte in February.
"Logistics are the big factor, especially for large containers," Pashyan said. "Business is good; it's growing by baby steps."
The company has two-step injection blow molding equipment from Italy's SMI Group. The Valencia plant also has two injection molding presses that it uses to make preforms. One is running a 16-cavity mold, the other an eight-cavity tool, he said.
Both plants currently have about 20 employees. The Valencia plant is running 24/7, while Charlotte currently has one shift.
"Our goals are to start a second shift in Charlotte and to get more clients in Valencia. We have open capacity here. We're growing organically," he said.
Pashyan said that Vav saw a downturn at the beginning of the pandemic, but then got busy making containers for water and hand sanitizer, both of which were in short supply.
"As many companies experienced the effects of COVID-19 this past year, we know how painful it has been for many to survive this threat," he said.
The company also had to work through an issue last year where it received defective preforms from an outside vendor.
"The supplier has not taken any responsibility thus far. However, Vav Plastics is working through these issues and is proving to be a strong manufacturer in the PET packaging market by working hard, working overtime and expanding the manufacturing operation to meet our customer needs, which is needed more now than ever before," he said.