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Dayton Corrugated Enjoying Less Competition for Small Customers

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According to a report this week by the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio, USA, internet shopping involves more than online marketing and browser cookies. It’s also the paperboard box that lands on a doorstop. A reliably "old-school" Dayton corrugated box manufacturer benefits from that online shopping, the company’s leaders said.

Gary Reigelsperger, president and CEO of Dayton Corrugated Packaging, said the growing demand for corrugated packaging by big sellers like Amazon frees his company to focus on their much smaller markets — orders of 500 to 10,000 boxes in a tri-state area. Amazon Prime members, by contrast, are estimated to number more than 50 million customers, The New York Times said last month.

"It keeps some of the big guys (paper producers) selling to the Amazons and that sort of thing, and it keeps them away from the little customers," Reigelsperger said. "It gives us more market."

Dayton Corrugated’s customers have included WorkflowOne, Standard Register (now called Taylor Communications), Klosterman Bakery, and others.

"Reynolds and Reynolds, or Standard Register — they make the forms, and they put them in our boxes and ship to their customers," Reigelsperger said.

"What the banker always said was, he could always tell what the economy in Dayton was by what we were doing," said Joyce Reigelsperger, Gary’s wife and company co-owner. "That was one of their indicators."

London-based Technavio reported last month that corrugated is on the upswing. The global corrugated box packaging market is expected to grow 4.8% through 2020, the firm said. "The ease of online shopping has made many customers switch from the traditional method of shopping," Technavio noted.

Integrated paper and box producers have tended to consolidate, Reigelsperger said. As Internet sales grow, online sellers are buying a lot of boxes from those producers.

And trhat’s fine with Dayton Corrugated. "They just let our customers alone," Reigelsperger added. His parents, Robert and Adeline Reigelsperger, started the company in the late 1970s, slowly buying up and taking over shops around them, including a law office, a hobby shop — even a Kroger store once at that location.

Today, Dayton Corrugated fills 56,000 sq. ft., with "nary an inch left over." The company is busy — and landlocked. "Any more equipment, we have to go to a new building," the CEO said.

The questions of whether to move and where will be left to the third generation of the family-owned business — son Jason Reigelsperger and daughter Kristin Wooldridge, who are poised to take the helm in several years, perhaps by 2020.

The company has 45 to 48 employees today. That number has grown slowly, the Reigelspergers said.

But the focus in recent years has been investing in equipment, not hiring workers. That includes about $1 million for a Swiss-made folder-gluer machine in 2010. "All of a sudden, you add a faster piece of equipment, the same three guys (workers) can do a whole lot more," Gary Reigelsperger concluded in the report.

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