A year after bringing machines from China to make egg cartons in the central Washington town of Wenatchee, fast-growing Fibro Corp. has purchased land for a bigger egg carton factory.
And the company might start building the carton-making machines in Wenatchee, also.
Fibro has purchased 26 acres near its current 50,000-square-foot leased plant, said General Manager Rich Peters. The company plans to build a 120,000-square-foot factory on the new site as it works to keep up with growing demand for egg cartons.
‘We’re going to be approximately five times larger at the new location,” he said.
The current facility, which Fibro is leasing from the Port of Chelan, is a former manufacturing plant for Jansport, a maker of outdoor bags.
The company moved egg carton production to Wenatchee partly because customers preferred a U.S.-made product, and partly because the economics were right, Peters said.
“Power is cheap and this is an environmentally friendly container,” he said. “We take recycled newspaper, add water, make it into a slurry, make pulp in machines and make product.”
Hydro power rates are substantially lower in Wenatchee than in Western Washington, said Bob Uptagrafft, an industry consultant who helped with the move.
Current egg producer customers include Wilcox Farms, based in Roy, south of Tacoma, and Oakdell Egg Farms Inc., based near Salt Lake City, Peters said.
Both of these supply Costco, and Fibro also is selling its cartons to QFC and Fred Meyer stores.
Wenatchee-based Fibro is a unit of Hong Kong-based conglomerate Katie Group Ltd., which has other business lines in pulp, paper and machinery, in Asia.
At the heart of Fibro’s success is its patented technology for making paper pulp into a slurry, and then pressing that into egg cartons and drying them, in one step. The resulting cartons are up to three times stronger than most other models, Peters said.