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Moments in Our History

For over 100 years, Mankato Packaging has been a staple in the Greater Mankato area as a provider of packaging solutions for countless industries. Founded in 1919 by Edwin W. Foster as the Mankato Paper Box company, we are proud of our rich history that includes many business transformations, periods of growth, and relocation. Keep reading to learn more about some key moments in our history.

1962: Addition to Facility

In 1962, the Mankato Paper Box company began work on a 10,000 sq. ft. addition to our already 40,000 sq. ft. factory. In the local article published about the expansion, we learn from then president, Russell G. Foster, that the expansion comes after “increasing demand for packages [we sold] have contributed greatly to the continued growth and diversification of Mankato Paper Box company.” This article outlines many of the services and products we provided to our customers at the time; from folding paper boxes and a patented line of coin boxes for banks, to Punch N’ Gro planting kits and greeting card packaging, this era was filled with growth and expansion in our line of services and products.

1965: Packaging Award

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In May of 1965, we received an award from the National Paper Box Manufacturers Association for our design and production of the “Twist” game box that we manufactured for the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. The game was selected for the award for its “design, display value, and surface design.”

1968: Our Name is Changed

After 60 years of operation as the Mankato Paper Box company, president Russell G. Foster announced the changing of the company’s name to Mankato Corporation. The change came as a result of an expanded product line and rapid growth in new areas. This was the first of several name changes which included Mankato Carton, Inc. and our current name of Mankato Packaging.

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We love to learn about the history of our company and sharing pieces of our story with our customers. Our history informs the decisions we make and drives us to continue adapting to our customers’ needs while always providing the best quality of service possible.

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Our Customer Journey from Quote to Print

When you reach out to a new vendor, you may not know what to expect. At Mankato Packaging, we want all our new customers to be absolutely confident in their decision to trust our team with their packaging needs. Keep reading to discover the process we follow from quote request to project completion.

When you reach out to Mankato Packaging via quote request, email, or phone call, here is what you can expect:

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Initial Conversation

Your first point of contact will be one of the friendly members of our customer service team. We will get to know your project by first getting an idea of what product you need to package and to begin building a relationship by familiarizing you with our company and practices.

The Quote

We require the following information from this initial contact in order to provide you with an accurate quote for services:

  • Business name, address, and phone number
  • Discuss paperboard options based on how much the items inside the carton weigh, what it will this be used for, and if it will be exposed to specific temperatures/moisture
  • Does this need to be printed with a custom design? If so, how many colors? (We have the capabilities to do full color!)
  • What quantity do you need a quote for?

After we receive this information, you will then receive a quote via email with our pricing and estimate tools.

Project Sample & Placing Your Order

After we send you the quote, we quickly create and send you a plain sample of your project and mail it out for review. Once the sample is approved and we agree on all project terms, we place the final order! The typical turnaround for a new project is four weeks, which drops to three weeks for future prints of the same project.

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A Few Special Benefits

We want all our new customers to feel 100% comfortable and confident in their new packaging. You are invited to visit us at any time – especially for press checks so you can see your project run through production. We also pride ourselves on being available whenever you may need us. From the front desk to our President, we are all available and easy to reach.

Let our team help you to achieve your packaging goals and submit your quote request today!

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The Maple Dude Customer Story

Maple syrup is a staple in almost every American kitchen. It is a beloved condiment that goes great on your classic pancakes and waffles, but the vision of our customer The Maple Dude takes syrup from the kitchen to the trails. The Maple Shot is a 1 oz. pack of 100% pure Wisconsin maple syrup that you can bring with you anywhere. It’s perfect for hiking, camping, or to throw in your purse for a quick on the go energy boost! We are proud to create the paperboard packaging for this delicious product!

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Tim Sternitzky, owner of The Maple Dude, took his passion for harvesting maple syrup that was passed down for generations in his family, and created this company dedicated to a superior product. Learn more about the passion and vision that drives this amazing company in this video.

Our relationship with The Maple Dude team is a perfect example of what a successful partnership should look like. Our sales rep, Mariah Wolfe, who works with The Maple Dude shares some insight on our relationship: “Working with Juliet for The Maple Shot project has been seamless! She is very quick to reach and is always thorough and clear. We couldn’t be happier that she called and were excited to have the opportunity to bring their display carton to life. I’ve learned so much from The Maple Dude website and YouTube channel about the process and equipment used for their products. Their YouTube videos are entertaining and hilarious! Definitely a company to watch!”

Our contact Juliet at The Maple Dude was kind enough to share some words about her relationship with our team: “The team at Mankato was great to work with.  They made us feel like they were excited about the product and project direction. They were always polite and friendly, had fast response times and worked with us to offer solutions while understanding the needs of a small business. Competitive pricing and offering options such as recycled materials were important to us. Mankato delivered on this as well as a quality product.”

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This company truly exemplifies a brand that is true to themselves and puts the quality and representation of their product first. By doing this, they are able to create the successful company culture and growth that they aim to achieve. We are honored to be a small part of this and look forward to watching all of their innovative to come in the future! Shop their Maple Shots on Amazon today!

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The Industries We Serve

Regardless of the industry you create products for, every producer of goods has one thing in common: they need packaging to sell their products in. At Mankato Packaging, we value every customer we have; from Fortune 500 companies to local breweries, we are proud to create custom packaging for a variety of company sizes in diverse industries.

To highlight a few of the companies we work with, we provide you with the examples below of industries and companies that we currently create packaging for:

Automotive Parts

Medical Supplies

Consumer Goods

Sporting Goods

Electronics

With such a diverse client base – each with unique products and packaging needs – we focus on keeping these things constant: caring customer service, team collaboration, high-quality packaging, and on-time delivery. By focusing on these four areas of service, we are able to ensure that every customer we have gets the attention they deserve, and that the packaging we produce for them protects their product and attracts more customers to help them build their business!

If you are looking for a partner in packaging, we encourage you to reach out to our team today to get a free quote!

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The 4 Traits to Look for When Choosing a Vendor

Regardless of your company’s function, odds are high that you rely on an outside vendor for some sort of support to help you accomplish your mission. At Mankato Packaging, we rely on several different vendors to supply us with what we need to help our own customers succeed. Learning what to look for when selecting our vendors was a long process, but putting the time in before deciding which company to work with has really paid off.

Our President, Sandy Dorn, shares her insight about our vendor selection process: “When we choose vendors, we look for suppliers that we can depend on to deliver quality material in a timely manner in order to meet our customers’ needs.  Another key ingredient for us is having a supplier who we can exceed normal lead-time to assist us in meeting our customers’ timelines.” Quality of product, dependable delivery time, and reliable customer service are the three main characteristics our company looks for when selecting and maintaining vendor relationships.

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Your company may have unique must-haves when it comes to selecting a vendor, but Forbes offers four main traits that every industry should consider when selecting a vendor:

  1. Cost – The cost of a vendor is obviously important to consider, but it should never be the only thing you consider. Savings are always great, but you want to make sure that the quality of your products and relationship with your customers will not be compromised.
  2. Capability– You need your vendor to be able to get your job done, but even more than that, you need to know you can rely on them to act with moral capability – will they do the right thing when you aren’t looking?
  3. Communication – Excellent communication is a cornerstone for any successful relationship. When going through the vendor selection process, ask yourself if the company is responsive, honest, clear, and transparent.
  4. Character – “…once a company and its vendors’ characters align, it will be a hard bond for any competitor to break” (Forbes). Do your research and pay attention during sales meetings to help you decide if the character of the vendor aligns with your company’s. If they don’t, it is not likely that the relationship will last, even if the other three traits are met.

(source: Forbes)

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We recommend keeping these four traits of a successful vendor relationship in mind when selecting any vendor to work with in 2020. When you take the time before signing a contract, your increase the likelihood of a relationship that you can rely on to support your growth and success for many years to come, which is invaluable regardless of the industry you operate in.

If you are looking for a new packaging provider, we invite you to give us a call to see if we might align well with your company! We welcome the opportunity to help you find the best packaging vendor for your needs.

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Meet Our Vendor: Case Paper

As a company, we know the importance of finding a vendor who not only meets our needs, but is a valued partner who supports our success and growth. We strive to be this kind of vendor for our customers, and look for the same from the vendors we choose to work with. This is one of the many reasons that we are so thankful to have a vendor like Case Paper. Case Paper supplies is with our Solid Bleached Sulfate and Solid Unbleached Sulfate paperboard which contain 100% pre-consumer content and is 100% recyclable! Read on to learn more about our valued partnership with Case Paper.

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A Statement from Case

We asked Arika Stoecker, Case Paper’s Sales Representative, about our vendor relationship, and here is what she shared:

“One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is growing relationships with the companies I work with. In some cases, when those relationships grow throughout the entire company, it allows me to make sure I am working at every level to provide the best possible service, and it allows the customer to make sure they are getting exactly what they need. This is the case with Mankato Packaging. I work with them on every level (management, purchasing, customer service, press room & pre press), and it makes them so easy to work with. We all work together to answer questions thoroughly and help each other learn what we are trying to achieve in order to provide the best possible outcome for everyone. As the industry continues to get more competitive, it is important to form these types of relationships to continue to grow together. I cherish the working relationship I have with every person at Mankato Packaging and I cannot wait to continue to grow together in 2020!”

We are so thankful for these kind words and what they illustrate about our partnership with Case Paper.

A Statement from Our Team

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Mackenzie Drager, Customer Service & Sales Representative

We asked Mackenzie, our Customer Service & Sales Representative, so share a little bit about our relationship with Case, and this is what she shared:

“Case paper is one of our paper suppliers here at MP and have been since 2018. Arika has made herself 100% available for any and all of our questions, and we couldn’t appreciate her more. There are so many different paperboard options on the market, but having a reliable resource makes it much less daunting. One of the speed bumps we run into when having materials on hand is the lead time – tis can really make or break our production flow, and Case Paper has done great work in getting our lead times cut in half or even more!”

We cannot say enough great things about Case Paper and what they do for our company. If you would like to learn more about them, check out their Facebook, Instagram, and website!

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Intuition Ale Works Customer Story

The American craft beer movement over the last decade has made huge waves in the beer production industry. As the number of privately owned, local breweries continues to rise throughout the nation, we have the honor of working with a great one: Intuition Ale Works from Jacksonville, Florida.

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Building Our Relationship

Our relationship with Intuition Ale Works began in 2017 when their Chief Operating Officer, Brad Lange submitted a “Get a Free Quote” form on our website. Our Customer Service team member, Mariah Wolfe, responded to the request and the fun began!

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Brad Lange and Mariah have worked together since 2017. Mariah says Brad is “extremely attentive, communicative and friendly. We very much enjoy printing their fun and vibrant cartons and following Brad and their team on the Intuition Ale Works social media channels for what’s happening in Jacksonville.” We are honored to have been featured on their Instagram in April of 2018 to showcase their variety packs featuring the Daybreak Gose.

Their Side of the Story

Brad kindly shared his story of how he chose us to partner with Intuition Ale Works for the launch of their seasonal variety 12-pack in 2017:

” Just over two years ago, we decided to launch a seasonal variety 12-pack that would be distributed in large grocery chains throughout northeast Florida. At the time, no other craft brewery based in Florida had ever produced a 12-pack. It was really hard for us to find the right packaging partner because we weren’t able to to rely on the usual “word of mouth” recommendations that breweries share with each other. 
We decided to conduct a national search, and asked a dozen packaging companies for samples and pricing. I remember being immediately impressed with Mankato for several reasons. Their responsiveness and customer service was amazing. They were able to answer all of my questions very quickly and provided five or six different package templates for us to choose from. When I explained that the heat and humidity in Florida was often harsh on package materials, they helped us choose a material that would best withstand those extreme conditions. They also worked very closely with our artist to create a custom design template that would be easy to use. 
We ran our first package in November 2017. Since then, Mankato has produced seven different branded 12-packs for us The feedback that we’ve received from customers has been tremendous. I can’t recommend Mankato highly enough. Their customer service is impeccable and the quality of their products is second to none. “

Thank you , Brad, for these kind words! We are so honored to work with you and the Intuition Ale Works team, and look forward for many more projects to come.

Our Projects

One of our favorite things about working with Intuition Ale Works is the fun and creative packaging designs that we can help them create for their twelve pack of 12 oz. cans
that incorporate their original, seasonal artwork for the Summer, Fall, and Winter.

An element that makes working with Intuition Ale Works and other craft beer breweries so rewarding is that we truly feel like part of the team. On every project we have completed with this amazing team, our opinions have been valued, and the working atmosphere is always fun, inspiring, and respectful – even from thousands of miles away.

If you are thinking of starting your own craft brewery, or maybe you have one and are ready to make the move to liquor store sales, contact us or submit a quote request form and we will reach out to discuss how our packaging solutions and design team will help you to stand out on the shelf.

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Reflecting on 2019 with Big Things to Come in 2020!

This past year has been one of transformation for Mankato Packaging, and we are excited to share our journey with you! When we started 2019, we did so with the intention of growth and change to better meet our clients needs and expectations, and to expand into new industries that would benefit from our unique approach to custom packaging.

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As you know, change can be hard to adapt to, especially in the work place. From bringing on new employees to integrating new production equipment, our team went through a lot of changes this year and we are proud to share that we are adjusting very well! The thing that helps us most when we are struggling with change is the knowledge that we are doing it for our customers. We truly believe that it is our duty to give our customers the best, most personalized service, and by doing so, we can deliver the best custom packaging based on their unique product needs.

When our team was discussing how we can better relay our special approach to packaging, and to understand who are target audience is, we decided that we needed some outside help. We teamed up with Mankato-based 507 Creative Group to develop a strategic marketing plan to map out our business goals, define our target audience, refine our business offerings, and select the tactics we use to reach our audience and accomplish our goals!

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As we worked through the strategic marketing plan with the 507 Creative Group team, we spent a lot of time discussing our process for helping our customers best represent their brand on their packaging. This helped us to realize that we need to refine our own brand to best represent what we do and what differentiates us from other packaging providers. We are so excited to unveil our new look in 2020 and cannot wait to hear what our customers and supporters think of the transformation!

If you are ready to start your 2020 transformation for your packaging, contact us today!

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GreenOps Ammo Customer Story

When we find a customer who is just as committed to producing products that will cause as little harm to the environment as possible, we know we have found a good fit. This is exactly what happened with GreenOps Ammo. The GreenOps team came to us in February of 2018 looking for an eco-friendly package for their ammo. Here’s more about why this company was set on eco-friendly packaging.

Based in Williamsburg VA, this startup shotgun ammunition company is revolutionizing the shotgun shell industry. Founded by a group of marine scientists, chemists, and hunters, this team had a vision of creating a shotgun shell that contained no lead and had a wad (the outer casing) that was not made of plastic. After much hard word and dedication to their vision, they succeeded: “We use wads that are non-toxic and biodegradable on land and in water (including in the ocean). Moreover, our patented technology reduces visual pollution from the get-go and provides superior patterning relative to competitive products” (GreenOps).

One of the coolest thing about these patented shotgun wads is that they biodegrade on land and in water. Unlike other shotgun shells that are advertised as biodegradable,  the GreenOps wads completely biodegrade and do so faster than the leading competition.

One big source of inspiration for the creation of these biodegradable wads is the history of shotgun wads. Before they were made with plastic, “shotgun wads were all made from biodegradable materials such as felt, cork, or cardboard” (GreenOps).

As with our commitment to using 100% recyclable materials in our packaging, GreenOps is just as committed to being environmentally conscious as we are. We are so honored to work with a company that is literally changing the game for shotgun ammunition, and cannot wait to see what they produce in the future! See our ammunition packaging below.

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Sweet Mass Production Customer Story

As we approach Veteran’s Day, we want to highlight one of our wonderful clients who honor our Veteran’s every day. Located in Providence RI, Sweet Mass Production, LLC (SMP) (dba ABandforBrothers.com) manufactures military medals that are given to troops around the world for all their accomplishments. SMP’s mission is to “raise the quality standard of your hard-earned military awards and insignia.” This women-ran company is truly uncompromising when it comes to the quality of their medals – they want the military personnel who receive their 100% American Made medals, insignia, and memorabilia to feel the quality and dedication that went into their product.

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The SMP team.

Mankato Packaging produces the cartons that these medals are packaged in along with the inserts they are attached to – see both pictured below.

All the packaging we produce for SMP is printed on 100% recycled material! Our Customer Service & Sales specialist Mackenzie Drager had the opportunity to meet the women of SMP in May 2019 to get an insider’s view of this women-run business.  Mackenzie says this team is amazing to work with because they are super responsive and appreciative of their relationship with our team.  

Mackenzie pictured second to the left.

A fun story about how we landed this amazing company as a customer. One of the four employees at the time was tasked with finding a carton supplier and she really didn’t have any idea about what she needed.  She called a few different companies and was hung-up on because she wasn’t sure how to articulate what it was that they needed.  She then found our website and called us! Mackenzie walked her through a few questions, and during the entire conversation, the SMP employee was so thankful that she wasn’t getting hung-up on again! This group is so thankful for our timeliness and responsiveness because with the Military work demands very strict deadlines. 

Learn more about the great company at ABandforBrothers.com. We also want to say Thank You to all the Veterans who have bravely and selflessly served our country!