2013 Rhode Island Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year

Fonseca brothers guide Central Falls business to continued growth 

     Antonio S. Fonseca founded Packaging & More, Inc. in Central Falls 20 years ago. Packaging & More is a food service packaging distributor, paired with forty manufacturers and serving about 50 customers.  Those customers are located throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.  He started the company by scraping together his savings, while also receiving three small loans from immediate family members.

About 70 percent of the company’s customers are local independent grocery stores such as Dave’s Marketplace, Eastside Marketplace, Clements’ Marketplace and others. Those independent grocers represent the very foundation Packaging & More was built upon.

Examples of the products Packaging & More provides to their customers include roll bags, trash liners, foam trays, catering bowls for cut fruit, wicker baskets for displays and retail, cake containers, pie boxes, and a variety of muffin and cookie packaging, and numerous other items.

In the past few years, Packaging & More has expanded beyond its core business of local grocery stores by adding independent coffee shops, locally-owned hotels, and well-known Rhode Island institutions like Wright’s Farm and Veda Ravioli to their customer list.

Packaging & More has 14 employees that include office workers, warehouse personnel, and sales staff.

By 2005, founder Antonio Fonseca began turning over operation of the business to the family’s second generation, his two sons Tony and Vincent.  Antonio began to scale back his day-to-day involvement in the company and today serves as an advisor to his sons.

Vincent Fonseca oversees the company’s day-to-day operation.  He joined the company full time in 2003.  He primarily handles purchasing and is the main contact to Packaging & More’s vendors and manufacturers.  His strength lies in attention to detail and an overall understanding of the packaging industry. Vincent’s knowledge of products, manufacturers, and the market costs for materials are unparalleled.

Tony Fonseca joined the company full time in 2005.  He principally oversees sales, personally handling many of the outstanding relationships the company has with its customers.  Tony’s photographic recollection of pricing, product lines, and instant recall of conversations endears him to the company’s clientele.

Tony believes building a growing company requires supportive employees. As the company grew he didn’t hire additional staff.  That doesn’t necessarily result in making distribution and customer service more efficient.  Greater efficiency came from asking employees to do more and do it efficiently.

For example Tony said he asked the office staff to work smarter and solve issues faster.  He believes that taking five seconds off every task saved minutes per day and eventually hours every month.  Embracing the concept of anticipating problems that may occur tomorrow, but may have a solution today, would permit the company to think like a large business, while reacting like a small business.  Tony has made it his responsibility to hire the right person for every job in the company.

Incremental growth is a fundamental philosophy to the company’s success.  The first few weeks of customer setup, streamlining the order entry process, learning someone’s delivery procedures, all while developing synergy, takes time.  At one point these procedures involve nearly every company employee.  Addressing the smallest details in the beginning allows the company to keep a customer happy for the long term.

Everyone at Packaging & More constantly works on keeping their product knowledge current.  Warehouse workers have to know the inside of the box as well as they know the outside.  Customer service representatives have to know the part numbers.  Tony’s philosophy is that the company’s service, knowledge, communication, and delivery have to be special.

For their commitment and demonstrated success as a family-owned small business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to present the 2013 Rhode Island Jeffrey Butland Family-owned Small Business Award to the Fonseca family owners of Packaging & More in Central Falls.

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