By Harrell Kerkhoff
Maintenance Sales News Editor
Jackson/Newell Paper Companies is headquartered in Meridian, MS, with other locations in the Mississippi cities of Flowood, Columbus and Hattiesburg as well as Demopolis, AL. It has a workforce of over 210 people, and a history that dates 90-plus years.
“Jackson Paper Company, formerly located in Jackson, MS, is our original business. It was founded in 1921 by Harvey Newell Sr., who started selling paper towels, toilet tissue, paper cups and other paper items. We later added printing paper as well as janitorial supplies and equipment,” Jackson Paper Group CEO and Chairman Bill Allen said.
In 1946, Newell’s son, Harvey Newell Jr., opened the distributorship’s second facility, located in Meridian, and named it Newell Paper Company. Tragically, Newell Jr., was killed in a commercial airline crash in 1953. This took place while he was on a business trip in Texas, serving as the national president of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Eventually, employees approached the Newell family about buying the company, which they did in 1957.
Today, the company remains an employee-owned, privately-held corporation, and covers a market area that includes over 8,000 customers in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.
On a side note, Jackson Paper Company has been recognized by Dart Container Corporation as being the first distributorship to sell styrene foam cups, according to Allen. This took place in 1960. Over the following decades, foam cups have increasingly become more popular.
Today, Jackson/Newell Paper Companies sells over 7,000 different products. In 2009, it acquired Harris Industrial Products & Packaging, in Flowood, to increase the corporation’s offering of industrial packaging supplies.
Along with traditional jan/san cleaning items, Jackson/Newell Paper Companies also sells laundry and warewash chemicals, automated dispensing systems, and employs specialists who install and service various types of related equipment.
The corporation employs an outside sales force of approximately 50 people, and operates 40-plus delivery trucks.
“Our service region comprises the entire state of Mississippi, the western portion of Alabama and northeastern Louisiana,” Allen said.
He reported overall business for the company as being steady, despite certain area economies that remain stagnate.
“We have taken this opportunity to upgrade our software systems, provide more employee training and have actually hired additional people to get ready for when these economies turn around,” Allen said. “There has been some economic growth in the northern part of Mississippi due to increases in automotive production. Local economies have also been aided by coal mining activity in the state.”
Allen has also noticed that new automobile purchases and home sales are increasing in certain parts of the distributorship’s service region.
One challenge that Allen reported centers around increased competition from big box stores.
“It seems like everybody is wanting to get into the jan/san supply business. It’s a challenge to battle big box stores,” he said. “We have also seen an increased number of contract cleaners entering the local marketplace over the past 5 to 10 years. They are replacing some in-house cleaning staffs on the customer level. However, we can take advantage of this change by selling to contract cleaners as well.”
Despite business changes and challenges, Allen noted that there remains a wide variety of end-users who purchase products, and use services, available from the different Jackson/Newell Paper Companies locations.
“Much of our service region is very rural. Therefore, it’s important for us to sell in all business arenas. This includes schools, hospitals and factories. A lot of our customers seek towels and tissue, disinfectant cleaners and floor finishes. We sell everything from gift wrap to swimming pool supplies. We require no minimum limits on orders,” Allen said. “We pretty much do it all because we have to. We can’t just specialize in one or two business segments. It’s important for us to try to sell to everybody.”
With a history that dates over 90 years, Jackson/Newell Paper Companies has worked with many of its customers for generations. Allen said the rural southern jan/san market is very similar to other places across the nation. It’s a people business.
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Jackson Paper Group CEO/Chairman Bill Allen is shown next to a painting of the distributorship’s founder, Harvey Newell Sr. The company began in 1921.
“You learn to talk slow, think fast, get to know your customers and build relationships,” he said. “It’s important that we, as a company, observe the Golden Rule and give back to our communities. This philosophy is part of the mission statement at Jackson/Newell Paper Companies. I believe our company is very well suited for its service region.
“Many of our sales people have 30 to 40 years of experience at the company, and have worked with some of the same customers for that entire length of time. This has allowed them to build lasting relationships. We don’t have a lot of employee turnover. People like working in a family atmosphere.”
Customer training is another important building block to success while conducting business at Jackson/Newell Paper Companies.
“One of our specialities is floor maintenance education. It’s important to help people understand what it takes to maintain a clean, shiny floor, and to not just sell them a bill of goods,” Allen said. “We will show what they are going to have to do over the long term to keep their floors looking a certain way. There is no quick solution. Helping customers with the challenges of restroom care is another important aspect of our training.
“We provide ‘program selling.’ This involves training the entire staff of a facility, focusing on what they should do on a daily basis while maintaining a building. We also utilize manufacturer reps to help us work with customers.”
Another benefit to the company, he added, is its membership in a national buying group. According to Allen, this helps level the playing field for Jackson/Newell Paper Companies while trying to compete with larger jan/san distributorships.
Allen has been involved full time in the jan/san industry since 1982, and said he has no regrets.
“To me, it’s fun. For example, a distributor sales rep can call on customers on a regular basis and really get to know these people. That is the way we work at Jackson/Newell Paper Companies, and it’s one of our biggest strengths. Our customers also become very familiar with our delivery drivers,” Allen said. “Customer service is just as important as providing quality products at fair prices.
“We offer a good working atmosphere. I feel our customers realize this and like it as well.”
As for the future, Allen said officials at Jackson/Newell Paper Companies recognize the need to not only recruit qualified young people, but to help them make the jan/san field their career of choice.
“There is a very positive benefit in place when it comes to working at Jackson/Newell Paper Companies. Our employees have the opportunity to actually buy into the company, to become stock owners of our business.”
Contact: Jackson/Newell Paper Companies,
1212 Grand Ave., Meridian, MS 39301.
The Germiest Places And What You
Can Do To Protect Yourself
Dr. Neil E. Schachter has found that the following are the five “germiest” places most people are likely to visit:
• Public transportation — The more crowded the bus or train, the more likely it is that germs will spread from one person to another. Additionally, specific surfaces on buses, trains, and subway cars can be germ transmitters;
• Public restrooms — Many people have long mistrusted the sanitary conditions of these facilities, and for good reason. Bacteria and viruses thrive in the moist areas of all public restrooms, including sinks and soap dispensers;
• Schools and daycare centers — Having lots of children in one location always creates the opportunity for colds, flu, and other diseases to spread;
• Doctors’ offices — Many illnesses are spread in doctors' waiting rooms. In fact, some pediatricians now have separate waiting rooms for “well” and “not so well” children to avoid cross-contamination risks. And many doctors' offices provide face masks at check-in for those patients who are sick; and,
• Other public spaces — Any location where lots of people congregate, including concert venues and sporting events, is likely to be a gathering place for germs and bacteria as well.
Is there any way to avoid contamination, short of avoiding public locations?
“There are ways to defend yourself,” says Matt Morrison, communications manager for Kaivac, developers of the No-Touch and OmniFlex cleaning systems. “Wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizers, and try to avoid contact with commonly touched surfaces like handrails and even elevator buttons. We have to be proactive when it comes to protecting our health in public areas.”
Headquartered in Hamilton, OH, Kaivac, Inc., is the originator of No-Touch Cleaning®, and the OmniFlex™ Crossover Cleaning System. Kaivac offers environmentally friendly cleaning products designed to remove soil and potentially harmful biopollutants in a cost-effective manner.
Visit www.kaivac.com for more information.
Clean Spot, Inc., To Acquire
Classic Cleaning Supplies In Calgary, AB, Canada
Clean Spot, Inc. (www.cleanspot.ca), a Canadian distributor, has announced a corporate merger with Classic Cleaning Supplies, Ltd., also based in western Canada. The merger was effective August 1.
Based in Calgary, AB, Clean Spot was established in 2007, as a result of the merger of Dual Clean Corp., Ltd., and Clean Spot (a division of CnS Supplies Ltd.).
“The merger of Clean Spot and Classic Cleaning Supplies will create an organization equipped to provide an array of cleaning and sanitation supplies, convenient e-commerce ordering, on-site training and equipment sales, customer service, and repairs,” according to the company.
As a result of the merger, Clean Spot also plans to relocate its corporate office.