Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) recently welcomed ePac Flexible Packaging to the Pacific Northwest. Located at 18110 SE 34th St., Suite 255 in Vancouver, the company occupies 26,000 square feet in the newly remodeled 190-acre Vancouver Innovation Center (VIC).
ePac Portland, as the company is referred to, will serve the Portland-Vancouver metro area and focus on locally based CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands of all sizes.
ePac’s mission, according to a CREDC news release, is to help small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) grow and compete with larger brands. They are the industry leader in fast time to market by offering short and medium run length finished pouches and rollstock. Additionally, they offer low minimum orders and turnaround times of 5-15 business days.
“We are pleased to welcome ePac to Southwest Washington,” said CREDC CEO Jennifer Baker, in the news release. “Our accessible transportation hub, available industrial space, skilled workforce, quality of life and entrepreneurial spirit continue to attract and bolster our light manufacturing footprint.”
ePac is the first packaging company that bases its operations entirely on break-through digital printing technology from Hewlett Packard. Specifically, the Indigo 25000 Digital Press. These digital printing presses are carbon neutral and use polymer-based inks, which do not contain any hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). ePac’s digital printing platform consumes less energy and emits fewer greenhouse gasses than traditional printing methods, while the company offers recycled and recyclable film options to its customers. ePac also offers brands “order to demand” so they can avoid costly inventory and obsolescence, which also contributes to sustainability.
Spencer Watson, general manager of ePac Portland, said in the news release: “The Pacific Northwest is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, and we’re excited to be able to bring ePac’s unique service model to local brands that need professional packaging to grow.”
Clint Hendricks, vice president of business development with CREDC, said they supported ePac on several fronts in helping them decide on the site in Vancouver.
“We provided ePac with information that captured the business-friendly environment in Clark County in three areas, including 1) state sales tax exemptions on machinery and equipment for a sizable capital investment for the site, 2) provided tangible personal/real property tax comparisons showing the advantages of Vancouver site to competing sites out of state and 3)supported the permitting process for sire start up with the city of Vancouver,” Hendricks said.
Watson, an accomplished sales leader who has driven triple-digit growth at previous organizations, also brings his expertise in logistics and consumer packaged goods (CPG) as a locally based operator and investor to ePac Portland.
“The Pacific Northwest is very bullish on local entrepreneurship and ‘buy local,’ which is why we’re proud to say our plant has a local ownership component to it,” Watson said.
In an email to the VBJ, Watson said that it made perfect sense for them to choose Vancouver as the location for the company’s first plant in the Pacific Northwest. He emphasized that Vancouver is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, and there are many great places to live in Clark County.
“We were fortunate to find a location that had many amenities for employees and provided plenty of space for us to grow with our customers at the Vancouver Innovation Center,” Watson said. “ePac has experienced rapid growth in the last six years, with 15 plants in the U.S. and 10 internationally. One of the reasons for that success is the fact that we are built to support our small- and medium-sized businesses locally. We specialize in on-demand printing small and medium size runs, so they can compete with the larger organizations and win more shelf space. It’s an amazing experience to watch our customers go from selling solely at the farmers market to gaining distribution across the country.”
Since the opening of the company’s first manufacturing facility in 2016, ePac’s mission has been clear – to help small brands obtain big brand presence and grow.
According to CEO Jack Knott: “In each market ePac enters, we see a similar dynamic unfold – small- and medium-sized businesses are growing at double digits, and our partnerships with them can and do help accelerate their growth. We’re excited to be a local partner bringing these capabilities to the Pacific Northwest.”