In addition to investing in new and innovative ways to enhance their products and services, Pennsylvania companies also have a long and proud heritage in manufacturing. Here, David Coolidge, Sales and Marketing representative for Tamarack Packaging, Ltd., talks about the rich history of the Meadville-based company and some of the exciting new products that it has brought to market.
Founded in 1964, Tamarack is recognized as a manufacturer of quality custom vinyl products from rigid and flexible PVC and other plastics. Tell us how the company got its start.
Tamarack got its start in a garage in Meadville by Ruth and Lucky McBride as Crawford Packaging. The vinyl pouch was one of the original products that helped get the company started. Petroleum was added as a substance, which helped make the process of making plastics easier; it became a cost effective substitute for wood, glass and metal during World War I and II. In the 1970s, the business was sold and moved to a 12,000-square-foot building; the name changed to Tamarack Packaging. One of the owners, at that time, lived near Tamarack Lake, hence the name.
Although Tamarack is rooted in heat-sealing, the growth of its customers spurred Tamarack to expand its manufacturing capabilities. Please share some examples, such as thermoforming.
Thermoforming is a manufacturing process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mold and trimmed to create a usable product. Using CAD/CAM, a perfect fit is created for an item, right out of the box, ready for retail. For example, Tamarack manufactures blister packs and clam shell packaging for Channellock tools, including the pliers, wrenches and screwdrivers.
What are the primary industries that you serve and where are these customers located?
We serve many industries, including automotive, banking, electronics, fishing, hand-tool, hotel, marine, pharmaceutical, and stationary. We are a registered Class 1 medical device manufacturer with the FDA. Our customers span throughout the world, primarily in the United States and Canada.
Earlier this year, Tamarack produced 11,000 vinyl ticket holders for Nike’s prime customers attending Super Bowl LI. How did that come to be and what has it meant for your business to have that exposure?
One of our customers works with Nike. Our customer requested us to create a ticketholder, based on some parameters. Our team worked with their team to customize a product to meet their needs. We didn’t know our product would be part of the Super Bowl until after we finalized. The excitement mounted when both TV stations from Erie aired us on the 6 o’clock news, and we made the front page of the local newspaper the next morning. We even got a spot on “Made in America” that ran the day of the Super Bowl. So, we were super excited about feeling part of the Big Game and the local attention it brought us. Our structure and capabilities allow us to customize and work closely with our customers. This gives us an advantage in creating unique products and setting ourselves apart.
What are some other well-known companies or events that have utilized Tamarack packaging solutions?
- Channellock, REED Manufacturing, SK Handtool, Flexcut and Woodpeckers
- Honeywell, a harness and safety products manufacturer
- Jersey Bin, a cycle shop
- Attwood, a marine manufacturer
- Plastek and FishUSA
Tamarack is proud to manufacture in the USA. What does it mean to you to say your products are Made in PA?
It gives us great pride to know we are making a difference in the American economy, locally and throughout the country. Our forefathers built this great country, and we the people, are the backbone to American pride, with hard work and dedication toward a common cause. You bet we are proud! And we say it loud, ‘Made in the USA! Made in Meadville, PA!’