On June 18th, we opened the doors of our plant and invited our customers in to tour the Sonderen facility at our first Open House event since we re-opened after the fire in 1998. They were able to witness the machines in operation, meet our wonderful employees, and better understand the myriad of processes that create their packaging.
We had over 50 people attend, representing over 15 of our valued client companies. Some are local, like Sterling International from Spokane and Namaste Foods from Coeur d’Alene, while others traveled an impressive distance to attend. There were representatives from Vista Outdoor/ATK in Lewiston, ID; East-West Tea/Yogi Tea in Eugene,OR; Tree Top in Selah, WA; Reser’s Fine Foods in Beaverton, OR; and Oberto in Seattle.
“Many of our customers have never seen what we do and how we do it. We wanted to give them an excuse to come to Sonderen to witness custom manufacturing at its finest and to meet the team of people who serve them,” said Keva Sonderen. “We have made some major equipment purchases over the past couple of years, which demonstrates our commitment as a company to the longevity of our business by making continuous capital investments and improvements. We hoped that customers would recognize the level of sophistication of our manufacturing and quality processes, solidifying their confidence and trust in our abilities.”
“For those who had never seen our operation and had no idea how a folding carton was made, they were fascinated with the machinery size and complexity. The effort that goes into making their product packaging is immense and they have a newfound appreciation for what we do and how we do it,” said Keva. “People were impressed by the high standard of cleanliness, organization, and the size of the plant, and also that we have all of the tools we need to create custom folding cartons right under our roof, here in Spokane, WA.”
Attendees seemed most impressed by the speed and accuracy of our glue machines and our auto packer, which processes 80,000 cartons per hour.
The Open House also gave us the opportunity to highlight some of our vendor partners: our ink vendor, INX International, and our printing press vendor, KBA, who both gave informative presentations to attending clients. Our customers appreciated the opportunity to increase their knowledge of ink and color and the technology of the printing press.
We had a great time planning the Open House, down to the little details, such as the flower centerpieces that stood in paperboard packages instead of vases. We also had a few raffles, with prizes of gift cards, gear, and ammunition (yes, ammunition donated by one of our customers). Everyone enjoyed the selection of edibles, too, particularly the single serve fruit pies that Cyrus O’ Leary’s contributed to the event.
“We have THE BEST team at Sonderen and there were so many people that put forth a lot of time and effort to make the Open House an event to remember, and the plant has never looked so good!” said Keva. “It was fun to make a space on our plant floor that was comfortable, and stimulated conversations that built connections and strengthened partnerships.”