InterFlex Group builds global business from Wilkes home base
Since 1975, the InterFlex Group has been manufacturing and selling packaging materials. Today, it’s grown into a worldwide leader in the industry, with six different facilities, including two overseas. And the company’s done it from its Wilkesboro headquarters.
InterFlex’s relationship with Wilkes County is a good one, says Bill Elkin, the company’s chief financial officer, who has been with InterFlex for 18 years. He attributes it to a combination of factors, including civic leadership’s investments in the area’s workforce.
“The community continues to support our company by investing in programs, training and educational opportunities at Wilkes Community College, assisting our business with available grants when applicable and ensuring the necessary infrastructure to support our growth is updated and available,” Elkin says.
Wide Range of Products
Those investments in the company and its available workforce aren’t the only things that have kept the company happy with the location, he adds.
“My favorite things about working in Wilkes are the community activities and many outdoor opportunities available to our employees,” Elkin says.
InterFlex’s primary business is “flexible packaging,” which refers to a wide range of products designed primarily for the food and grocery industry but also used in pet, health and beauty, and even lawn and garden products. But with an operation so large (177,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space across four U.S. locations), the company’s capabilities are wide, including printing on a huge variety of plastic and laminated materials using state-of-the-art printers. Along with standard four-color printing, it also specializes in a process known as extended gamut printing, which allows for an even wider range of difficult-to-produce colors.
The variety of packaging on which the company can print is as wide as the techniques it uses, from plastic bags to pouches to nylon and plastic films. InterFlex also produces laminates, shrink films and thermoformed packaging, the latter of which is made through a process of heating a plastic sheet and then forming it to make trays or other custom-shaped packaging. All of the products are customizable to the end-user’s needs.
InterFlex’s growth hasn’t come from just its range of product offerings. It also has built market share through some shrewd acquisitions, such as the 2014 acquisition of Star Packaging Corporation, another large packaging company. The deal brought sales to more than $200 million annually and improved the company’s reach into new markets where Star’s presence was strong.
The company gives back to the community too. In summer 2015 it is working with the Walker Center at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, helping to bring excellent entertainment to residents.