You Have Their Word on It
Walnut Packaging Inc. makes sure it delivers on its promises to customers
When Walnut Packaging Inc. makes a promise to a customer, it stays true to its word. Their commitment to integrity has allowed the Farmingdale, N.Y.-based company to thrive for more than five decades.
“In order to run a business, you’ve got to be legitimate and straight forward with your customers,” owner Jose Alvarado asserts. “If you play games, you’re going to lose [them]. That’s how it works.”
Alvarado started the polyethylene bag company in 1962, after gaining extensive experience in the plastic industry. This included working for 15 years for another firm that promised him shares in the business.
However, when Alvarado learned that he would not be receiving those shares, he left to start Walnut Packaging Inc. Initially, the company operated out of a 5,000-square-foot space that a friend loaned him until he got on his feet.
Since then, Walnut Packaging Inc. has grown its space to 21,000 square feet and employs a staff of 18. It also serves a customer base that includes poultry and produce companies, ice packers and firms in the fashion industry that use Walnut Packaging Inc.’s products to pack t-shirts and other apparel.
Not only has Alvarado been dedicated to his work, but in addition, his honesty with customers made Walnut Packaging Inc. a success. This has resulted in him wearing different hats at the company, when jobs need to get done.
“If I have to sweep the floor, that doesn’t mean anything to me,” Alvarado says, noting that he prefers this over sitting at a desk during an entire workday. “I’m very happy to do everything, if I have to.”
The Capable Company
Alvarado’s son, Vice President Jose Alvarado Jr., has joined him in the business and takes pride in how the company has grown over the years. “We’re always pushing and drive for more to keep the company increasing in size,” he says.
This allows Walnut Packaging Inc. to stay strong in a competitive market. “We’re a growing company that can do a lot of what the bigger boys are doing,” the younger Alvarado asserts.
Walnut Packaging Inc. has recently proven this ability as many clients have started asking for different types of films and laminated pouches, as opposed to the standard polyethylene bags. In the past three years, the company invested in technology “that is capable of doing high-end packaging,” he states.
“What we’re doing is getting the best quality print possible,” he continues. “Everyone has been pushing the limits, and that’s why we [acquired] the higher-end equipment.”
The Family Business
Alvarado Jr. has enjoyed his time at Walnut Packaging Inc., which he joined after graduating from college. “I’ve appreciated the family aspect of our business as I’ve gotten older and more involved,” he says. “It’s nice working with family.” He also appreciates how Walnut Packaging Inc. has brought benefits to its employees.
Jose Alvarado sees a strong future ahead for his company. It will continue to be ethical in its dealing with customers, and grow through the acquisition of more equipment. This will help the company cope with the industry changes that lie ahead.
“This industry is definitely headed towards digital printing in the future,” Jose Alvarado Jr. predicts, adding that this will require new machines that can produce a higher quality product and less downtime.
“That’s where I see the future of all the flexographic companies going,” he adds. “I’d like Walnut Packaging Inc. to be part of that and keep our business growing.”
Partners in Plastic
As Walnut Packaging Inc. has grown, it has formed strong relationships with suppliers. These included Norman Rubenstein, a plastic supplier who started his business in Europe.
“He always treated me as if I was his son,” Alvarado recalls, noting that he sent Rubenstein a letter thanking him for his work after he retired in 2007. Two years before his death, Rubenstein returned the favor in a visit to Alvarado.
“He embraced me and gave me a kiss,” Alvarado recalls, adding that Rubenstein offered him any assistance he needed. “One of the reasons I was in the business was because Mr. Rubenstein was so nice and made quite an impression on me.”