Magazine article Black Enterprise

Taking the Pepsi Challenge: Tiny New Jersey Company Wins $75 Million Contract

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Taking the Pepsi Challenge: Tiny New Jersey Company Wins $75 Million Contract

Article excerpt

After getting a $75 million contract from the Pepsi-Cola Co., a New Jersey box manufacturer is poised to become one of the nation's largest black-owned businesses.

Pepsi recently agreed to purchase 500 million boxes, over five years, from Integrated Packaging Corp. (IPC) of New Brunswick, N.J. Pepsi officials say the contract is the largest they've ever awarded to a minority-owned company.

The deal will help IPC complete their purchase of a $6 million container plant formerly owned by Jefferson Smurfit Corp., a St. Louis paper products concern.

Joe Wilson, a co-founder of IPC, began his business relationship with Pepsi in 1987 when he started selling packing materials and janitorial supplies to the cola giant. Three years later he teamed up with Albert Fuller, who managed Jefferson Smurfit's New Jersey box plant. In 1993 the formed IPC.

"That's the story here. We began a small relationship with Pepsi years ago, and it has grown into this," Wilson told BE. "We were able to make a quantum leap ... [Pepsi] aggressively pursues minority companies that fit into their company plans."

Pepsi officials say they're convinced IPC can handle the major contract, based on their past dealings with Wilson. "Many minority companies are small, and we want them to have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with bigger companies for these contracts," says Fred Canady, Pepsi's director of minority business enterprise. "Joe Wilson and Al Fuller both had records of superior performance and were clearly qualified to do more business with us. …

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