Resin distributor Mass Polymers Corp. is going strong after a half-century in business thanks to its commitment to the generic prime market.
"Our longevity has a lot to do with our focus on quality and our work in the generic prime market," owner and President Steve Dazzo said in a recent interview with Plastics News. "We're not one of the also-rans who just sell large volumes of whatever they have."
Bridgewater, N.J.-based MPC was founded in 1971 by Herb Mass, a sales manager with resin reseller Muehlstein Inc. The firm began as a regional distributor, selling polyethylene resin from a few suppliers.
Dazzo said the key event of the firm's early years was the global oil shortage of 1973-74. Price controls in place in the U.S. allowed MPC to sell PE resin that had been acquired for 9 cents per pound for $1 per pound.
"The company became very successful overnight," Dazzo added.
Al Dazzo, Steve's father, a marketing manager at PE maker Rexene Corp., joined MPC as a minority partner in 1977 and acquired full ownership in 1985, the same year Steve Dazzo joined the firm after working for a couple of years as an engineer. He became president of MPC in 2017.
"I thought I'd give it a shot," Steve Dazzo said. "I've got no regrets. We've had a great run."
Today, MPC has 20 employees and 12 sales reps. The firm generates half of its sales from PE, with the other half coming from polypropylene, polystyrene, PVC, PET and some specialty resins.
MPC works with more than 20 suppliers and sells into the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The firm continues its focus on generic prime resin, which commonly is described as a material that has the performance attributes of standard prime without being identified with a specific supplier.
"We know the difference between commodity and engineering sales, and we're not trying to be everything to everyone," Commodity Resins Vice President Joe Mysza said, adding that MPC "brought the technical side to the commodity business."
Market veterans Mysza and Bill Armgard, vice president and general manager, joined MPC in 2007. Dazzo said that the two executives contributed to MPC's growth in overall sales with a marketing strategy focusing on selling a much larger percentage of generic and branded prime.
Since 2017, MPC has added three new suppliers of generic prime PE. Several North American PE makers have added capacity in recent years. "That availability has helped us," Dazzo said.
In addition to the new PE suppliers, since 2016 MPC has hired four new domestic and international sales managers. The firm also has added ABS, PET and SMA resins and black and white concentrates to its line card and has entered the Mexican market.
Like many firms, MPC has faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020.
"There was decline, then we saw a strong comeback," Dazzo said. He added that many of the firm's materials are used to fight COVID-19 in products such as medical masks and wipe containers.
Today, MPC uses more than 35 warehouses in North America and has sales offices in eight states. In the last 15 years, the firm changed its strategy from regional to national distribution.
"We're not the biggest, but our approach is to be the best," Dazzo said. "We believe in quality and in doing the right thing to give our customers the consistency that they want."