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Independent Carton Group Welcomes Two New Members

Press release from the issuing company

Newtown, Conn. – The Independent Carton Group (ICG), an association of 20 independently owned and operated folding carton manufacturers, is pleased to welcome F. M. Howell & Company of Elmira, New York and Winston Packaging of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Both companies were voted into the association at the Outlook Group ICG meeting in Neenah, WI on November 7, 2019.

Winston Packaging (www.winstonpackaging.com) is a 108-year-old family owned business founded by Alexander Grey Gordon (AG) who grew the company through two World Wars and the Great Depression. AG, described as “the entrepreneur”, was succeeded by his son, John Gordon in 1953, who brought an engineer’s vision to Winston Printing, then a commercial printing operation. Through the 50s, 60s and 70s the company focused on high-end catalogs and promotional pieces for the North Carolina furniture industry.

In 1985 James Gordon, the third generation of Gordon took the helm. By 1999, the company had made the complete transition from a commercial printer, who did some packaging, to an exclusive folding carton manufacturer. “My grandfather was the entrepreneur, and my father was the engineer, I characterize the theme of my tenure as, ‘the adaptor’” says James Gordon. Adapting the company to folding cartons and capitalizing on its years of experience with high-end color was a key to the company’s growth in the 90s. “In the 90s we produced export packaging for RJR Tobacco. This work required us to match work done by gravure with our offset presses. We challenged our ink suppliers and our own processes to match the gravure packaging and succeeded,” reflects Gordon with pride.

Regarding the ICG, Gordon says he is pleased to be part of a group that shows sincere camaraderie and a willingness to help one another grow their businesses. “In addition to sharing best practices between our companies at every level of our operations we are looking forward to improving our ability to grow by being more competitive in the marketplace” says Gordon.

F. M. Howell & Company (www.howellpkg.com) is a 137-year-old family business in Elmira, New York. Founded in 1883, the company started producing wooden cigar boxes and branched into high quality set-up boxes for candy and shoes. One of the strengths of the company has always been its commitment to its employees. In these early years of business development the company sowed the seeds of being a high quality package printer. This is one of the key strengths that President and CEO Katherine H. Roehlke says has helped the company grow to over 200 employees. “My father, George L. Howell, had the vision that we are more than a packaging company. He diversified our business into thermoformed plastics,” Roehlke says. “This practice has served us well over the years, with many of our customers purchasing multiple products and services from us.” The company has four plants in the Elmira area producing thermoformed plastics, folding cartons, and set-up boxes and is a provider of secondary contract packaging and pharmaceutical prescription drug fulfillment services.

Roehlke is very proud that Howell has been a certified women-owned business and a member of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC www.wbenc.org) since 2009. “As part of our contract packaging business, we have FDA and DEA registrations to repackage and warehouse prescription drugs and controlled substances,” explained Roehlke.

“We are firm believers in the value strong associations can bring to companies like Howell. We look forward to gaining much from our membership in the ICG and look forward to benchmarking with other members of the group. It’s all about building on your strengths,” says Roehlke.

“We are very pleased to have F. M. Howell & Company and Winston Packaging join the ICG”, says Jay Willie, Executive Director of the ICG. “They are both great companies with strong backgrounds and bright futures which mesh nicely with our other member companies.”

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