CNBC Highlights Flexible Packaging Duo in 'Blue Collar Millionaires'
Dru Riess and Ray Salinas aren't your average 30-somethings. They run a multi-million dollar package printing company that they started in 2007 … after they purchased an old press being stored in a barn. That company is McKinney, Texas-based Popular Ink and the flexographic printing press belonged to the stepfather of Salinas' girlfriend at the time.
In an episode of CNBC's Blue Collar Millionaires that aired on Feb. 15, Riess, president and CEO, explained that when Salinas, executive VP and COO, asked if he would be interested in starting a printing business, Riess started researching the flexible packaging industry and realized the potential of the $29.9 billion industry in the U.S. Tired of working desk jobs, the two offered the girlfriend's stepfather "sticks for what it was worth," according to Riess, and moved from Colorado to Texas to start the company.
Although they knew nothing about printing, let alone flexography, the show explained the two men started working on the press and taught themselves everything they needed to know to become competitive in the flexible food packaging market. They knew they needed something to differentiate themselves from the competition, so Riess and Salinas dedicated themselves to ordering all raw materials, inks and substrates solely from U.S.-based companies, making lead times about two weeks, versus the eight to nine week industry norm.
During the show, the two explained their plan to bring in customers. They planned a 3,000 mile, five day road trip where they were able to meet with purchasing managers, business owners and decision makers, all of whom agreed to work with the two entrepreneurs. Over the span of the first several years, Riess says that the business doubled every year. The two are now expecting to hit $30 million this year, and in five years expect to hit more than $100 million.
The company produces a variety of custom flexible food pouches, stick packs, stand up bags, pressure-sensitive labels, shrink sleeves and boxes with no minimum order.