Spokane Journal of Business

Sonderen Packaging buys Seattle operation

Paperboard carton maker expects 30 percent jump in revenue, adds machinery

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Sonderen Packaging, a Spokane maker of folding-carton products, has bought the assets of Seattle-based Stoneway Carton Co.

President Mark Sonderen says he expects that the acquisition will boost Sonderen Packagings revenues by about 30 percent next year. He says the company should have revenues of about $13 million this year, up slightly from $12.8 in 2003 and $12 million in 2002.

Sonderen Packaging plans to move Stoneways production operations to Spokane and to vacate a 50,000-square-foot building, in Seattle, that Stoneway had occupied, Sonderen says.

He says hes researching other locations in the Seattle area for about 7,000-square-feet of warehouse space that Sonderen Packaging needs to maintain there. Sonderen Packaging has operated a sales office in Tacoma for four years and is looking at consolidating its West Side sales and warehouse operations, he says.

Stoneway had employed 36 people. Sonderen says his company plans to retain five people in Seattle and to add six people to its Spokane staff. Sonderen Packaging currently employs 70 people. Sonderen says hell continue using the Stoneway name for some production for now, but will drop it eventually.

Washington state Department of Revenue documents indicate Stoneway opened in 1966.

Sonderen says the Spokane company decided to buy Stoneways assets because its owner was looking to leave the industry.

Consolidations are happening a lot in our industry, Sonderen says. This was a way for us to increase our revenue and improve efficiency.

He adds, It puts us in a healthy position to make our capital purchases in the future to keep us modern in the industry.

With the Stoneway purchase, Sonderen Packaging has added milk carton style packaging to its services, which basically means that it now has the necessary equipment to package wet products, Sonderen says.

Separately, Sonderen Packaging has bought two machines to help improve its production efficiency, he says.

One of the machines, which it bought for $1.3 million, is a cutting press made by a manufacturer in Spain, Sonderen says. The machine offers blanking capability, which means cartons come out clean with no scrap edges, thus cutting out a step in the production process.

Sonderen Packaging also has added a refurbished gluing machine for about $100,000 to add more production capacity, Sonderen says. He expects the company to have the machines installed and operating by next March.

Last year, the company focused on upgrading its prepress department by adding a $350,000 laser imaging unit, enabling it to transfer images directly to printing plates, he says. It also added a $150,000 router, operated with computer-aided design software, that enables the company to make dies in-house.

Sonderen Packaging was launched in 1963 and occupies an 85,000-square-foot facility at 2906 N. Crestline.

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