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Suffolk-based box-maker invests in growth

PUBLISHED: 12:50 19 January 2019

It was a busy Christmas for Caps Cases, based in Newmarket.
Managing director Trevor Bissett and Mark Williamson of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Picture: LLOYDS BANK

It was a busy Christmas for Caps Cases, based in Newmarket. Managing director Trevor Bissett and Mark Williamson of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Picture: LLOYDS BANK

Archant

Many businesses, especially in retail, have been hit by the rapid growth of the internet and `home shopping’, but Caps Cases is an exception.

Newmarket-based Caps Cases is a market leader in corrugated cardboard packaging
Picture: CAPS CASESNewmarket-based Caps Cases is a market leader in corrugated cardboard packaging Picture: CAPS CASES

Newmarket-based Caps Cases, which was established in 1982, has grown to become a market leader in the manufacture and supply of cardboard boxes.

Demand for the family firm’s environmentally-friendly packaging has soared as more people shop online, and businesses search to source sustainable packaging.

If you ordered a Christmas turkey, or goose, for the family it may well have been delivered in one of Caps’ speciality turkey boxes.

Caps Cases, with production in Newmarket and Glasgow, now makes 69 million boxes a year.

Newmarket-based Caps Cases is a market leader in corrugated cardboard packaging
Picture: CAPS CASESNewmarket-based Caps Cases is a market leader in corrugated cardboard packaging Picture: CAPS CASES

There is a growing demand from e-commerce for packaging.

Last year it decided to expand its production space by 20% to meet a growing order book, and it did it with the help of long-term banking partner Lloyds Bank.

Managing director Trevor Bissett explained: “We spend the first nine months of the year planning to make sure we’ve got the capacity in place to cope with Christmas demand. That’s why it is important to make sure we’re investing in the right areas of our business during the quieter months, so that we know we can fulfil our clients’ requests during the peak season.”

So how did Christmas go?

“It went very well, we sold about 155,000 turkey boxes, more than 5% up on the previous year.”

The product was especially developed for farmers and independent producers in 2014, and has grown year on year.

In environmental terms Caps Cases ticks a lot of the right boxes too.

Corrugated cardboard boxes can be re-used, recycled, composted or incinerated and so do not have to go in to landfill.

Currently 80% of corrugated cardboard products are recycled.

New cardboard products are also planned, with a special box for chilled produce now in the prototype stage.

Mr Bissett explained: “We are nearly there.

“We are always looking for new products.

“There is already growth in packaging for the drinks market, with the growth of craft beers, and gins from distillers.

“We design and brand them for smaller producers.

“We are looking to continue that sort of growth with a bespoke chilled box.

“It would be totally recyclable and to be used in conjuction with ice packs.

“This would allow our customers to reduce the use of rigid plastics and polystyrene in their packaging.

“We will be offering a viable alternative that is more environmentally friendly.

“We will be the first packaging company to offer this at a reasonable price.”

Caps offers a wide range of products, including archive and storage boxes for self-storage, which in another growing area.

“There are a lot of our boxes in lofts,” added Trevor.

The family business was launched in 1982 by his dad Charlie Bissett and Peter Bush, and the name came from the initials of the two partners and their wives.

Trevor said: “They started with five staff, in a 5,000 sq ft unit here, and we have continued to grow over the 37 years.”

The business has become one of Newmarket’s largest employers, with 150 people in the town, and another 50 in Glasgow.

And it had an annual turnover of £22.5m last year.


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