Courtesy The Boxmaker

In 1981, Dave Hill and Dave Taylor aspired to fill a gap in the packaging industry by launching The BoxMaker Inc., a new kind of box-manufacturing model offering shorter-run quantities and a high level of service.

“What fascinated me with the box business is you’re selling a product you can influence,” said Hill, alluding to the company’s innovative spirit and unofficial mantra: Do Something Different. “What’s driven The BoxMaker is the feeling that if we did something different, we should be able to expand each of the markets we became involved with.”

Today, the company still follows this creed, now functioning as one of the only full-service, single-source packaging manufacturer of its kind. “We are the only company a business can go to and get boxes, the internal foam, and the internal packaging of any kind,” Hill said. “We even close the box and put tape on it.” According to Hill, there is no other distributor that manufactures, and no manufacturer that distributes in the box market.

The BoxMaker is headquartered in Kent and operates seven locations throughout Washington and Oregon. It manufactures both stock and custom products, and works with corrugated boards of most grades, as well as specialty boards.

The company operates the region’s largest digital production center for packaging and display, featuring a range of machinery to produce custom wide-format corrugated, label, and carton products. Continually committed to expanding digital print capabilities, The BoxMaker recently installed the HP PageWide C500 digital press, believed to be a first for the West Coast.

“The buying habits of today’s consumers are constantly changing, and the packaging industry must follow suit,” said Richard Brown, president at The BoxMaker. “As a part of our commitment to leading the forefront on innovation, our move into digital print has allowed us to better serve our clients and provide packaging solutions that take their brand to the next level.” 

As one of the first web-to-pack platforms, The BoxMaker launched its Fantastapack ecommerce site in 2015, expanding its reach to serve brands throughout the United States and Canada. Fantastapack aims to support small business owners, entrepreneurs, subscription box startups, marketers, and others who needed high-quality packaging in easy-to-order, startup quantities.

“Ultimately, we expanded into the ecommerce landscape with the goal of making, designing, and ordering custom packaging easy and accessible for everyone — from established brands to up-and-coming startups,” said Brown.

Employee retention at The BoxMaker is high, with some tenures reaching 15, 20, and even 30 years. And, as part of doing things differently, the company holds its workforce accountable to its “lean manufacturing” model: A continual commitment between all departments to maintain high operational efficiency, reduce waste, increase productivity, and create a safer work environment through a system called 6S, representing Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain, and Safety.

“That’s the biggest compliment you have, when people stay, and you’ve got them with you for so long,” Hill concluded.