2022 has brought new life to our Kingsport Mill. In addition to 31,500 tons of material from the mill’s original structures being recycled to form the foundation for the mill’s future, employees who once made paper there are set to return to work as new buildings rise in the place where the others stood for more than a century. Construction isn’t the only new life being breathed into the mill. The site is buzzing again as employees prepare to return to work and get accustomed to the mill’s new layout, containerboard product and processes. With all the changes to the site, even long-time employees are having to relearn their way around.
An Elkhart-based manufacturer of cardboard boxes already working to expand its operations in Elkhart is expanding elsewhere through a merger with another box-maker.
In a deal announced Tuesday, July 7, Welch Packaging Group is merging with American Corrugated Products, a Columbus, Ohio-based company that specializes in packaging for the automotive industry.
“American Corrugated Products has a mix of custom packaging solutions built on strong design capabilities which fits the Welch model like a glove,” Welch founder and CEO Scott Welch said in a statement. “This expands the talent, design and niche products that we can bring to our customer while broadening our automotive industry expertise. American Corrugated Products customers will greatly benefit from Welch’s geographic coverage and product capabilities.”
Combined, the companies have 900 employees across six states.
Welch Packaging was founded in Elkhart in 1985 and has facilities in Elkhart, Marion, Indianapolis, Chicago, and three Ohio plants in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo.
American Corrugated has plants in Jackson, Mich.; Evansville; Morehead, Ky.; Columbia, Tenn., and Dyersburg, Tenn.
A statement from Welch Packaging did not specify how or if the companies’ leadership would be consolidated or how the merger might impact the people currently working at the companies. Calls and emails to a Welch company spokesperson for comment were not returned Tuesday afternoon.
Welch Packaging has grown significantly in the last few years through the acquisition of other box-making companies.
In May 2014, it acquired Go Packaging LLC in Lombard, Ill., and in March 2014 it bought Marion-based Indiana Corrugated. In November 2013, officials announced the acquisition of Nova Packaging, also in Marion.