The Independent Carton Group (ICG) is pleased to announce its two newest members: Jones Packaging of London, Ontario, and Wausau Container of Wausau, Wis. Both companies were approved for ICG membership during the group’s recent general membership meeting in Clayton, N.C., which was hosted by ICG member 3C Packaging. The ICG was founded with five members in 1982, and with the two additions, the group now has 19 independently owned and operated folding carton manufacturers on its member roster.

“Jones and Wausau are welcome additions to our tight-knit group. Like many members, both are family-owned, with solid business values and a strong desire to engage with their industry peers for the benefit of all,” said Jay Willie, executive director of the Independent Carton Group. “This isn’t a group in which members can be casual observers, and we’re much more than a purchasing consortium. It’s clear that Jones and Wausau buy into the ICG’s position as a sharing group. We encourage their contributions to the group and look forward to supporting their growth.”

Jones is the first Canadian folding carton company approved for ICG membership in over two decades. In addition to being the only Canadian company on the member roster today, Jones also holds the distinction of being among the top three oldest companies in the ICG.

Founded in 1882, the now fourth-generation family company is owned by Ron Harris, president and CEO, and Christine Jones Harris, who serves as principal, strategic partnerships, and is also the great-granddaughter of the founder. Jones’ diverse portfolio includes folding cartons as well as labels, inserts, compliance packaging, and contract packaging services.

“Our heritage is grounded in understanding the changes in the consumer market and adapting our corporate footprint in packaging. We recognize that, to advance in the industry, we must grow our thought leadership position and build our partner ecosystem. Groups like the ICG allow us to do that. We believe in the value in sharing of best practices and fostering collaboration at all levels in our organization,” said Christine Jones Harris, noting that several Jones employees are attending the ICG’s Technical Conference on Prepress and Printing next week. “We have begun tapping into the benefits of our membership, and we look forward to opening our doors to fellow ICG members and sharing our experience on an international scale.”

The ability to interact and stand with others is also what drove Wausau Container to pursue ICG membership. The company, owned by father-and-son team Chuck and Jeff Plier, was founded in 1993. Wausau Container is unique in that it is one of only a few ICG member companies with flexographic printing capabilities in addition to sheet-fed offset and lithographic production.

“It’s easy for companies like ours to feel like an island, but our membership in the ICG gives us the opportunity to collaborate with people who are doing what we’re doing in an environment that is safe,” said Jeff Plier, vice president of sales and marketing, and son of Chuck Plier, the co-founder and current president of Wausau Container. “One of the greatest benefits of membership is something we hope to never use, the production continuity assurance program.”

This flagship program, which was the impetus for the ICG’s founding, exists to provide member-to-member assistance in the event of a catastrophe. It was most notably called into action in 2005 when a fire destroyed a member’s manufacturing facility. Several members rendered assistance, producing cartons and fulfilling orders until the member rebuilt and resumed normal operations.

“Joining the ICG instantly gave us peace of mind in knowing that others have our back, and it has provided us with the most credible answer to customers who, in assessing risk factors, ask about our contingency plans,” said Jeff Plier. “It’s not just anybody we would trust to support us in a time of need, but this great group of professionals with whom we’re building camaraderie, while sharing knowledge of equipment and processes that make us a better supplier every day.”

The ICG is a major force in the packaging industry. Its 19 members in 13 U.S. states and Canada collectively represent over $700 million in annual sales and 1,482 years of packaging history. ICG membership is highly coveted by the industry’s “independents,” privately owned converters not affiliated with a major paper mill, and the new member vetting process is quite rigorous.

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