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Sealing up the coffee industry; for a company that has only been supplying the coffee trade for seven years, it is certainly significant that Pacific Bag is doing such extensive business in the industry.

For a company that has only been supplying the coffee trade for seven years, it is certainly significant that Pacific Bag is doing such extensive business in the industry. So, how did they establish such numerous clientele?

Being one of the largest suppliers of packaging material to the U.S. coffee industry and the supplier to some of the biggest coffee companies in the U.S., including Millstone and Seattle's Best Coffee, Pacific Bag, Inc. certainly seems to be doing something right. Maybe it's the location; the company is found in Bellevue, Washington, minutes from downtown Seattle, the coffee hub of the U.S. Or maybe it's the fact that they offer the industry all the available varieties of packaging materials at competitive prices.

Well, according to Edward Urquhart, president of Pacific Bag, one of the largest bag manufacturers in the U.S., it has something to do with direction.

"The company's emphasis is on coffee," revealed Urquhart. Instead of concentrating on various concepts at once, we picked one specific concept and do it well, he said.

Urquhart founded the firm in 1984, and soon after a major U.S. department store chain came to Pacific Bag and asked them to design a specific shopping bag. Within one or two years, the company got involved in the coffee packaging industry in Seattle, and the rest is history.

With five sales representatives in the U.S. and one in Canada, Pacific Bag currently ships to Europe and Asia, as well as throughout the U.S. When asked about Russia, Urquhart replied that they are not shipping there as of yet, but that there is significant marketing potential there.

The company supplies a variety of bags from paper to foil and metalized poly valve, stand-up, and flat pouches. They offers 2-oz to 15-lb foil bags, which are all heat sealable, and .5-lb to 5-lb paper bags with a tin-tie closure.

Custom printed bags are also available in both paper and foil and the company has recently introduced a design service to their customers. Geared toward smaller accounts without advertising agencies, this new service designs custom logos and private labels, specializing in each individual company's marketing needs.

Environmental issues facing packaging

Concerning environmental issues, the roaster is in a precarious position, said Urquhart.

"Right now there isn't an alternative to foil," he said. "It would be nice to package a product for two to three months in paper, but it is not possible." Paper does not have the barrier foil does, he explained. With a foil bag, you have a six month to one year shelf life.

"We offer our customers all the packaging alternatives that are available and the roaster makes the decision," said Urquhart. "Half of the industry goes one way, and half goes the other; we offer both," he said. "Our selling ratio is 50% foil, 50% paper."

Along with packaging materials, Pacific Bag also offers packaging equipment, allowing the small roaster to roast and package themselves. The Pac Barrier Bag Sealer supplies air tight seals, the Pac Portable Sealer performs airtight seals and can be used by hand, and the Coffee Pac is the company's vacuum, flush, and seal machine.

"More and more people are finding their niche in the market," said Urquhart, "some people are even packaging in garages."

Regarding the entire packaging perspective, "our area is getting more and more competitive," said Urquhart. We'll quote a job and someone will come in lower by thinning the structure of the bag, he said.

The competition doesn't seem to scare Urquhart though, and when asked about future plans, he simply disclosed; "We plan to be in the industry for a long time."

Pacific Bag, Inc., 300 129th Avenue, NE, Bldg 6, Suite 102, Bellevue, WA 98005. Tel: (206)455-1128; Fax: (206)455-1886.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Boxman, Alyson R.
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Aug 1, 1993
Words:633
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