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Photography by C.B. Schmelter / Southern Champion Tray

* Address: 220 Compress St., Chattanooga

* Online: sctray.com

* History: Founded in 1927 as a subsidiary of an Ohio-based company to manufacture paperboard food trays, the fledgling company survived the Great Depression and World War II, going independent in 1947 under new majority owner Milt Zeiser. The company's roots are in Zeiser's love of the machine shop, where his skill in machining and mechanical design made Southern Champion Tray a viable business. Zeiser's son Chuck joined the company full-time in 1958. Appointed president in 1968, Chuck solidified both the infrastructure and culture of Southern Champion Tray, increasing the company's manufacturing capabilities, adding an internal sales force, in-house graphic arts, a custom products division in Mansfield, Texas, and a full service trucking operation. Chuck's sons joined the business full-time in the '80s. In 1993, John and Bruce Zeiser took the reins of the business.

* Products and services: Southern Champion Tray makes a wide range of sustainable, fiber-based packaging for the food and retail industries, including bakeries, catering, carryout meals and customized packaging.

* What's next: Southern Champion Tray is planning more than 1 million square feet of space at a proposed new manufacturing facility in an expansion originally unveiled last year. The company plans to invest nearly $85 million in a new manufacturing plant where it will create more than 120 jobs. Southern Champion Tray already employs over 750 people, including more than 500 in Chattanooga.

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The Brand: Southern Champion Tray

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