Barry-Wehmiller Network
5/29/2019 3:05:04 PM

Forest Packaging Invests for the Next Generation

From left, Dean DeGroot, John Kula, Jeff Kula and Andrew DeGroot in front of the new G-Grafix rotary diecutter.
Original Article was Reprinted from May/June 2019 Corrugated Today

In the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove, Ill., is a family-owned independent sheet plant that combines old-fashioned values with new cutting-edge technology to provide customers with innovative corrugated packaging and displays. Forest Packaging was founded 53 years ago in Forest Park, Ill., thus the name “Forest” Packaging, and is owned and operated by two generations of the Kula family. Their goal is to continue to grow the business for the next generations and build a legacy. President Greg Kula attributes the company’s success and longevity to a culture of excellence, exceptional customer service and industry consolidation. “A lot of smaller independents were purchased and melded into larger companies. That opens up opportunities for us. Customers that used to do business with those companies are now coming to us,” he says. “Small companies like ours keep that same model of taking care of even the smallest customer and treating them well. Even if it’s just a $10,000 account, we take care of them.”

Serving any customer, no matter how small, is Forest Packaging’s niche. “We don’t mind having a $2000 or $3000 account, even if they only order a couple of times a year if we
can be of value to them and help them grow,” Greg’s son John Kula, Vice President, says. “We know what it’s like to have somebody there to support you no matter how small you are.” The customer base is quite varied. “Our biggest account doesn’t make up 10% of what we do,” he says. The majority of orders are direct print flexo up to three-color. About 65% is industrial packaging and the remaining 35% is P-O-P displays. The company employs 50 people and operates in a 50,000-sq-ft building. There is also a 15,000-sq-ft offsite warehouse for finished goods.

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