Box maker Jamel moves from Fort Payne to Chattanooga

Box maker Jamel moves from Fort Payne to Chattanooga

April 18th, 2012 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Robert Schubert installs a print plate onto a Flexo machine on Tuesday at Jamel Containers' warehouse at 1859 Polk St. in Chattanooga. Jamel Containers makes and prints corrugated materials for a variety of businesses and relocated from Fort Payne, Ala.

Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse/Times Free Press.

With its box sales growing in new directions, Jamel Containers has itself boxed up its machinery and moved to a bigger facility in Chattanooga.

The 28-year-old company, which began in Fort Payne, Ala., serving that city's sock industry, relocated over the past four months into a new 52,000-square-foot plant on Chattanooga's Southside.

"Due to the textile industry moving out of the Fort Payne area, we began looking at different markets," said J. Perry Morris, vice president and general manager of the business since 2001. "The manufacturing market in Chattanooga was growing, and we began serving more businesses in health, food and other industries in and around Chattanooga."

Morris said the company's new leased facility on Polk Street is closer to most of Jamel's customers, including Chattem, Chattanooga Bakery and others.

"That not only helps control costs, but more importantly provides the area with 25 new jobs," Morris said.

Jamel's customer base has grown to more than 200 companies within 150 miles of Chattanooga, according to Michael Walker, the project manager for the company's relocation from Fort Payne to Chattanooga. Walker said the new facility, which is leased from Yerby Concrete Construction, is about one-third bigger and includes new Flexo folder gluers and dye cutters to expand production.

"This is a taller and larger facility to accommodate our growth," he said.

Despite the economic downturn from 2008 through 2010, Morris said Jamel's sales have continued to grow at better than 4 percent annual pace and should top $5 million this year.

"Unlike Fort Payne, Chattanooga is a growing market with a lot more room to grow," Morris said.

The company makes customized shippers, corrugated displays and inner packs to stabilize products within a box. Jamel prints and places labels and coatings on more than 200 stock styles of die cuts, slotted containers and telescoping cartons, Morris said.

"We have the ability to design any type of partition, pallet or corrugated product required to safely ship or display any product imaginable," he said. "We utilize the latest CAD (computer aided design) software technology, allowing complete control of the design process from initial conception through mock-up and sampling."

Jamel Containers is planning an open house at its new facility Friday for area customers and public officials, Walker said.