Salt Lake City-based thermoformer Premier Plastics Inc. is adding machinery and employees as it grows with customers after looking out for front-line workers during the pandemic.
Founded in 1989, the packaging manufacturer invested $1 million in a Sencor 2500 Ultra thermoformer with automation, hired six people and added a third shift.
The growth is driven in part by demand for packaging for products that can bring an air of comfort to people at a time of unprecedented health and economic worries.
"Several regular clients have seen increases in their volumes, and it is related to people staying home because of COVID-19. They make home aromatherapy products," Premier Plastics founder and President Jim Holbrook said in a phone interview. "With everybody staying home, sales have skyrocketed for them."
There's a sweet smell of success for Premier Plastics, too. This year sales are expected to rise to about $16 million for the company, which also serves the medical, nutraceutical, beauty, retail and consumer electronics markets with medical-grade, food-grade and anti-static packaging.
"We're on track right now to show a 70 percent sales increase over last year," Holbrook said, pointing to the home goods and medical markets as the main drivers.
Premier Plastic's website shows it won a 2018 packaging award for a product called Australian Dreams essential oils. Essential oils used in aromatherapy are typically extracted from plants and distilled. The highly concentrated oils may be inhaled directly or indirectly.
The Mayo Clinic says aromatherapy is thought to work by stimulating smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages through the nervous system to the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Some studies have shown that aromatherapy might have health benefits, including relief from anxiety and depression, improved sleep and improved quality of life, particularly for people with chronic health conditions, the clinic's website says.
For Australian Dreams, Holbrook said Premier Plastics designed a tray made of recycled PET to hold the 10 bottles of various scents of essential oils. One of the plastic company's box manufacturers, All Packaging, handles the colorful printing of the kangaroo image on the boxes.