FTA Member Yellowstone Plastics Identifies as Preferred Flexible Packaging Partner

Pursuing the dream: “Print anything we want, on any machine, with no inabilities to comply with what the customer asks for.” That’s the team-wide passion at Yellowstone Plastics in Idaho Falls, ID, says Lou Figueria, print production manager. It’s been committed to the cause for going on 20 years, even longer if you dig into its roots and its affiliation with sister company Volm Companies Inc.

Fast to reinforce the claim is Mitch Chapple, plant manager at the longtime FTA member printer. “As we continue to diversify our offerings, my hope and expectation is to remain the supplier of choice. We come to work every day with a ‘can-do’ attitude. We want to be every customer’s ‘one-stop shop’ for all needs.”

Synergies abound between Yellowstone and Volm, according to Alan Mueller, Yellowstone’s founder and Volm’s chairman. “We’re heavily invested and positioned to answer needs across the full spectrum of the packaging industry.”

Volm, originally a supply company supporting the agriculture community, expanded into hardware, distribution, equipment—to include packaging machinery—and acted on its “field to fork” vision, via establishment of Yellowstone in 1999. “First packages came off the line in 2000 and since then, millions and millions of flexibles have been converted annually.

Alan states, “We strive to provide services and products that will be the total solution to assist our customers in getting their potato, onions, vegetable crops and anything else from packing facility to market shelf. We want to be recognized as the preferred flexible packaging partner for any industry sector requiring the best performing and best-looking packaging available.” Original customers—growers, shippers, brokers and retailers—are still supported.

Mission & Vision

Proud of Yellowstone Plastics’ reputation for focusing on creativity, quality, positioning and customization, Alan notes, “A relationship with a supplier you can trust is critical in the packaging industry. Our mission, vision and core values provide a foundation for delivery of the highest level of customer service. Quality, reliability and flexibility are keys to our customers’ success, and in turn, our success.

“We’re in business to serve. That’s our priority,” he explains. “We exist to build up customers, suppliers, communities and each other. Faith-based principles guide us as to how we serve others by satisfying customer needs, increasing their competitiveness and producing quality products, innovative solutions and innovative partnerships that strengthen capabilities. Everything we do is relationship based.

“Our pouches, bags and roll stock are well suited for any application,” he maintains. “In an industry that demands new innovation and customized products, we emphasize personalized solutions and top-notch service.”

Yellowstone Plastics‘ promotional bag
All photos courtesy of Yellowstone Plastics

Charting History

“Starting in 1954 as a small family-run operation, Volm Farm Supply Co of Bryant, WI began selling groceries and hardware supplies, serving the needs of local dairy and potato farmers,” Alan relates. Gerald Volm, his father-in-law, realized his clientele needed a reliable supplier of used and new burlap to get potatoes to market. “Over time,” Alan recalls, “The company formed distributor relationships with other bag companies and moved its growing business to Antigo, WI, where it began manufacturing its own equipment to meet changing market needs.

Volm grew into a leading source for packaging and equipment solutions, all the while continuing to follow Gerald Volm’s example by delivering the high-value solutions customers need with the personalized customer service they deserve, Alan says. His association with the firm stretches back 41 years, so he was instrumental in the decision to establish Yellowstone Plastics and bring manufacturing in house, moving his family from Wisconsin to Idaho. While Alan now serves as chairman of the board, his son, Daniel, is president and CEO, and his nephew, Michael Hunter, is COO.

“Our pit crew approach lets the right team member jump in and then jump out, facilitating quicker changeover time. Every move is mapped out, making for faster makeready. Specific assignments definitely speed things up and reduce scrap as well.”

Lou Figueria, print production manager at Yellowstone Plastics

Alan remembers, “We initially started with several bag-converting machines, since we were buying film preprinted and working with outside partners. Eventually, we purchased our first 8-color wide web press about one year in and started printing bags.

“Today, we serve large national and regional accounts, such as Kroger, Green Giant and Sunkist,” Alan reports. “Our packaging can be found in virtually any big box store and national grocery chain, as well as regional and local retailers.”

Offering more of a historical retrospective, Alan relates, “Yellowstone Plastics was created to provide quality bags to the produce industry on a quick-turn basis. The produce industry continues to be an important segment of our business. As the company has grown, we have taken advantage of opportunities to branch out into other markets. We have up to 10-color print capability and provide excellent flexo print quality to ensure the on-shelf appearance of a package to help maximize brand recognition and impact at the point of purchase. We understand the seriousness of the uptime of equipment and make it a top priority to manufacture flexible packaging with the precision and consistency necessary to achieve maximum efficiency.”

At Yellowstone, the list of markets supported includes: produce, frozen food, bakery, pet food, plus lawn and garden. Print work turned out utilizes a variety of substrates, including monolayer and co-extruded films/resins—polyethylene-based films, polyesters, polypropylenes and nylons. Solvent-based, fade and weather resistant inks are utilized in a nod to the agricultural base.