MANSFIELD – Did you know that the packaging for the Ghirardelli chocolates you bought for Valentine’s Day were made right here in Mansfield?
As U.S. Representative Jake Auchincloss learned, Hub Folding Box Company Inc. creates packaging for a variety of familiar products for alcohol, food, health and wellness, fragrance and more. Touring their facility in the Mansfield Industrial Park, you’ll see boxes of Kellogg’s cereal, Pop-Tarts and Eggo waffles, Gorton’s frozen seafood, Cheese-its, as well as Absolut vodka, Captain’s rum Morgan and many others. There are also premium specialty packages like the Crown Royal Texas Mesquite whiskey with a wood scent built into the box.
Hub Folding Box was started in South Boston in 1918 by Francesco DiRico, who emigrated from Italy to New Haven, Connecticut, when he was 14 years old. Today, DiRico’s grandson, Jack, is owner/partner/executive vice president, the third generation at the helm of the company. .
In the 1930s, Hub Folding Box became the first folding box manufacturer to develop and use cellophane windows in tomato boxes and create partitioned egg boxes.
The company then created the first six-pack soda container, which was used for Orange Crush, DiRico said. The sale of this patent funded new equipment for the company.
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In 1982, Hub Folding Box moved to Mansfield, where it now owns a 300,000 square foot facility on 10 acres in the Mansfield Industrial Park. The Norfolk Street location includes rail access and has 270 employees.
The company also has sites in California and Croatia and plans to open one in Mexico.
Hub Folding Box is now looking to expand with another 100,000 to 200,000 square foot facility in Mansfield, Kline told Auchincloss when Congressman, State Representatives Ted Philips, D-Sharon and Adam Scanlon, DN. Attleboro and the city’s director of economic development, Chris McDermott, visited the manufacturer Feb. 11.
The company continues to invest in innovation, Hub Vice President Richard Kline said. Some $42 million was used for equipment and technology between 2006 and 2014
“And we plan to invest an additional $20 million (in technology),” DiRico said.
Kline told Auchincloss that tax incentives for the type of investment they make would be welcome.
But the biggest need at Hub Folding Box is the workers.
“Our strength is aging,” Kline said. “It’s very difficult. It’s a challenge because our equipment is sophisticated.
Auchincloss said the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill would support makers like Hub Folding Box.
“We have infrastructure funding coming, that’s for sure,” Auchincloss said. “Masse. will receive more than a billion dollars for the improvement of the railroads.
The America Competes bill, which recently passed the House but still needs to be approved by the Senate, provides funding for manufacturing innovation and workforce development.
“Every company I go to that is on the manufacturing side has an insatiable appetite for workers and is looking to do whatever it can to attract more of them,” Auchincloss said.
“You guys are the lucky ones because we stayed here in Mansfield,” Kline said. “We had every opportunity to move. But now we need resources and help. And one thing would be people.
Kline spoke of his interest in working with regional vocational schools to add printing technology to train graduates with Scanlon. He said Hub Folding Box might be interested in funding such a program.
The company also prides itself on sustainability. It uses power generated from the facility for heat, operates its own wastewater treatment plant and uses recycled plastics and paper for its products, Kline said. The facility also includes a recycling center, which greatly reduces the amount of waste it disposes of, he said.
At Hub Folding Box, they not only print the packaging, but also design it.
“We do all the graphics. We create it. We do everything here,” DiRico said. “I’m told that in Massachusetts there are very few companies that manufacture from scratch.”
“We do hot stamping. We have a bonding operation,” Kline said. “We do everything under one roof. I make our own dies here.
For more information on the Hub Folding Box, visit www.hubfoldingbox.com.
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