25th Anniversaries offer an opportunity to reflect on all the highlights, challenges, and hard work it took to reach such a recognizable occasion. Each milestone over the last quarter of a century comes together to showcase the accomplishments of one family business and offers a point of celebration.
As we step back to see how far Century Printing & Packaging has come, it’s important to remember where it all started. Back in 1994, Ben and Neil’s father, Don, had a company that sold plastic bags in the textile industry. The family built up a good business, and even though they worked on supplying imported bags to major retailers in the sports industry, the textile industry began to decline. With the writing on the wall, they knew they needed to switch gears into a different sector to take their business to the next level.
The printing and packaging market has seen healthy growth over the last decade and is supported by a recognizable demand for high-quality labels. Around this time, labeling had a low barrier to entry in terms of start-up costs. In 1997, Ben and Neil saw this as an opportunity to jump into a new business idea.
The origin point of CP&P started in a small, converted bathroom. An unused bathroom at the same warehouse the Waldrop family used for their plastic bag business was repurposed and turned into the first press room. Neil ran the press, Don sold the labels, and Ben ran the plastic bag business– that’s how Century Printing & Packaging began in 1997 in Greer.
As the father-and-son business began to pick up momentum, growing pains emerged. Finding more space and purchasing another press was necessary to alleviate production times. In November of 2001, the Waldrop family built a building in Greer, SC. Not only this, but 9/11 halted the economy, and the significant commitment they made felt enormous.
CP&P had eight employees during these crucial years and invested in a second press to expand their business ventures. Both the investments in the building and the press proved profitable, and in 2003 the building was paid in full, and in 2004 another essential press was added.
Today, CP&P employs twenty-eight workers and owns five presses.
Over the last 25 years, CP&P has stayed true to its local roots in Greer. The business is active in the community and has helped fuel dozens of reliable jobs for those in the surrounding area. Building up and staying in one location has allowed CP&P to establish a sense of community in Greer while offering support and forging long-term relationships with local customers and suppliers.
In 2022 with the production of over 350 million labels, CP&P takes pride in its customer relationships and the continuation of exemplary business practices. CP&P serves customers right around 40 states in the U.S. and works with companies like Aiken Chemical, DiscoverFresh Foods, New York Butcher Shoppe, and Westbrook Brewing Company.
The team at CP&P is constantly bringing in new business. Whether from outbound sales, word of mouth, referrals, or recommendations, CP&P is ready to provide customers with the highest quality labels and streamline the process from idea conception to final product.
CP&P diligently increases their online marketing efforts year after year. Focusing on strengthening their online presence has significantly grown the business and its future development. This digital presence continues to open new opportunities for CP&P and builds more authentic relationships– giving them a better reach into the industry and solving their customers’ everyday challenges. Remaining relevant online is vital for a thriving business, generating engagement, and getting in front of the right clients– and CP&P doesn’t shy away from ensuring that’s a priority.
Being a small, local business has its challenges. Still, CP&P has proven time and time again how their dedication to exceptional customer experience and consistent, high-quality products can and will always compete with large corporations. CP&P brings the human aspect back into the business and doesn’t hesitate to find new innovative ways to deliver memorable customer satisfaction.
In 2018, CP&P added a digital press to keep up with the growing demand and evolution of the labeling space. Furthermore, this past year in 2022, a hybrid press joined the production line and has begun to pave the future for the team at CP&P.
Digital printing technology has allowed CP&P to keep up with the growing demand and the production of labels that can withstand various conditions, have seamless scannability, and a long shelf-life. Customers are looking for quality and sustainability. By staying competitive with the addition of digital and hybrid presses, CP&P remains top of mind as brands search for attractive labels that will sell their products.
Not only does the investment in digital presses ensure stellar quality and shortened turnaround times, but they also cut down significantly on waste and eliminate plates in sustainable efforts to combat environmental challenges. The carbon-neutral materials and use of polymer-based inks emit fewer greenhouse gases. CP&P additionally uses has access to paper from renewable forests, reducing their environmental footprint compared to traditional printing and packaging methods.
Despite rapidly changing customer behavior and consumer buying shifts, CP&P upheld its customer promise throughout the pandemic. CP&P aided in the increased production of labels in the disinfectant and grocery industries as they adapted to the changing economic climate. Supply issues continued to manifest during this time, making it harder for the team to get the supplies they needed to produce for their customers. However, even in times of crisis, CP&P overcame worldwide obstacles while always pursuing its mission to be an integral part of their customers’ businesses.
25 years down. So, what’s next for Century Printing & Packaging?
As Ben and Neil stay on top of trends, it is evident that more printing will move to a digital model. CP&P already has set goals to add more digital presses in the coming years, as their reaction to what the market is expecting will play a large part in how the business grows and moves forward. As customers also become more conscious of their buying decisions, CP&P will work hard in the background to ensure that more water-based inks are used to reduce their environmental footprint.
When Don, Ben, and Neil started in 1997, they weren’t sure how far the company would go. CP&P originated around a time were few local label companies existed. This presented an opening in the market for them, and they haven’t looked back since. What they brought to the table from their plastic bag experience was different than what traditionally had been seen in the labeling industry. For example, keeping inventory for their customers wasn’t standard practice when they started the business due to the fear of getting stuck with inventory. However, Ben and Neil believed the risk was low, and overall, that has proven correct– allowing CP&P the upper hand in meeting their customer’s needs and expectations quicker than other providers.
One thing that differentiates CP&P from other larger companies is their dedication to their employees and their employee’s reciprocated commitment to CP&P. Some employees have been with the company for over 15 years and have witnessed the steady growth firsthand.
Over the last 25 years, CP&P has proven to be integral to the part they play in the result of their customer’s products. A necessary piece of CP&P’s profound success has derived from enabling solid partnerships with customers and going above and beyond in executing their visions. The following 25 years aren’t promised to come without challenges, but CP&P’s promise to their customers remains unwavering, which is why customers will continue to return for years.