After Acker-Pak LLC’s acquisition of the Baldwinsville, Onondaga County-based Central Industrial Packaging Supply Inc. in May, the Rochester firm’s leaders decided it was time to start using the corporate name the firm had registered in 2013, 3G Packaging Inc.
Acker-Pak is a regional distributor of packaging products such as packaging tape, bubble wrap and packing peanuts. It also sells and services machines to make the wrap and peanuts, and supplies the raw materials used to make those packing materials.
The company is transitioning to its new name but is no great hurry to fully make the switch, said John Siciliano, general manager and vice president.
“We’re probably going to keep using CIPS in Syracuse,” said President Vincent Stango, using the acronym for the Central New York distributorship. “We’re probably going to keep Acker-Pak here too,” he added, after a moment’s thought. “It sounds more local. 3G sounds more like a national company.”
The Gs stand for great, as in great service, products and people, Stango’s business card explains.
Siciliano handles day-to-day operations, keeping tabs on inventory, dispatching deliveries and running the firm’s office. After adding CIPS, the company employs 27 and brings in revenue of $10 million to $15 million. Before the merger 3G employed 13 and posted revenues approaching $10 million, Stango said.
A New Jersey-based business consultant, Stango manages the firm’s finances and takes a lead role in strategic planning.
The Syracuse-area acquisition is the company’s first, but if Stango’s and Siciliano’s plans work out, it will not be its last.
The pair see 3G as having the potential to become a $100 million operation with much of its growth coming through acquisitions.
Stango said the CIPS acquisition made sense for several reasons: While the Syracuse firm sits squarely in an area Acker-Pak has long served, CIPS’ product lines and Acker-Pak’s do not have a lot of overlap.
The Syracuse-area firm sells a lot of business product lines Acker-Pak did not handle, such as loading pallets, so the acquisition expands 3G’s reach to new customers to whom it can also sell supplies CIPS did not have, Stango said.
That CIPS president and former owner, Scott Montagna, wanted to stay involved in the business was key to sealing the deal.
“I’m not interested in acquiring any business whose management says ‘I’m out of here,’ ” Stango said.
Looking to get into a brick-and-mortar business in 2003, Stango and a Rochester nephew, Felix Furino, started a small janitorial supplies distributorship that year. Stango acquired Acker-Pak in 2005, merging the janitorial supplies and packaging materials distributorships. He tapped Siciliano, who is also a nephew, to run the business after Furino dropped out. Janitorial supplies now account for a minor portion of the firm’s sales.
3G’s main competitor is Veritiv Corp., a $9 billion firm formed in the 2014 merger of International Paper Co.’s xpedex distribution arm and Unisource International Inc.
3G has made inroads against the far larger Veritiv because its smaller size lets it be more nimble, Siciliano said. His company can more easily fill smaller orders and can more quickly respond to non-routine requests.
To do that while keeping expenses down, 3G uses third-party carriers rather than its own trucks to fill small and some long-distance orders.
Inventory control is also key, Siciliano added.
Maintaining an optimal balance between having enough supplies on hand to never keep customers waiting for a backordered product and not having his company’s warehouses overflowing with product that sits too long on the shelf is a never-ending challenge, he said.
When and where the firm will expand next will depend on what opportunities arise, the partners said.
While Siciliano thinks major metropolitan markets such as downstate New York are tempting, Stango is wary.
Stango foresees 3G’s footprint growing to include midmarket metropolitan regions in states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania but not including major metropolitan areas. Where Siciliano sees heavy concentrations of customers in a compressed space, Stango said, he sees lots of competition and unnecessary headaches.
“You’ve got to look at how hard it is to get around in those markets,” said Stango, drawing on his first-hand experience.
The Rochester Chamber Top 100 program is presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. The 2016 Rochester Top 100 event will be held Nov. 3. For more information, go to greaterrochesterchamber.com.
3G Packaging Inc. /
Regional distributor of packaging and janitorial products
Year founded: 2005
2015 ranking: 52
Top executive: Vincent Stango, president
Current employment: 27
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