On April 1, 1973, Mike Biasi’s father Gus started Valley
Converting Company. The company
manufactured the cardboard that attached to the backs of notepads that most of
us are familiar with. Mike’s father had
worked for Toronto Paper Board for a year and a half but felt that
entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to start his own company.
Over the years, Valley Converting continued to grow,
beginning to produce items such as hard back books and they eventually bought
the paper from the mill the elder Biasi previously worked at. By 1988, the business had grown to 12
employees. When the mill went bankrupt,
Valley Converting took out a $300,000 loan to buy the mill, saving 50 jobs in
the process. This capital investment also
greatly increased Valley’s production capacity.
Today, Valley Converting Company produces eighty-five tons
of cardboard per day from a whole lot of recycled paper product. It is all
shipped out as sheets from the plant.
They sell across the United States as well as into Canada. Most of their sales are to brokers, with very
few direct to customer sales. The
vertical integration strategy of owning both the converting firm and the mill
allows Valley to control costs and remain in business.
All total, Valley Converting Company has 50 employees
between the two plants. They do not employ any foremen, having two employees
that run the mill and the converting plant.
Mike Biasi says his employees don’t need a lot of management because
they all do their jobs and do them well.
Valley is a true family business with Mike’s sister and brother-in-law
working there as well.
Although a thriving business, Valley Converting Company does
face its share of challenges. One of
these challenges is the fact that they are in a mature market, meaning there is
little opportunity for growth. This
coupled with the continued push to go green, has cut cardboard usage
significantly. While complying with
regulatory agencies such as OHSA and the EPA is not problematic, Valley does
have to focus significant resources to do so.
Mike appreciates the awareness Valley’s NFIB membership gives the company. “Attending Area Action Council meetings in Steubenville
helps me know what other business owners are facing” Mr. Biaisi says. He also values NFIB fighting for small
businesses’ rights, when they are not many organizations who will do so.
Overall, Mike enjoys owning his own business because he can
run the company the way he wants and give back to his employees. He cites the recent 5 year period without a
loss time claim to the Bureau of Workers Compensation as a particular point of
pride for Valley Converting.