Columbus Container sold for $100 million


Columbus Container Inc., a private, family-held business established in Columbus in 1975, has agreed to be sold for $100 million in cash.

A competitor, Illinois-based Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), announced after the stock market closed Tuesday that it was purchasing all Columbus Container’s assets, including a 161,000-square-foot facility in Seymour.

PCA will acquire the full-line corrugated products facility in Columbus, five warehousing facilities and other related operations in Indiana and Illinois. The sale, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Bob Haddad Sr. and his wife, Helen, who have been married 62 years, moved from Sand Springs, Oklahoma, to Columbus in 1973. He had taken a job with Hoerner Boxes but turned down a transfer two years later to stay in the community and start Columbus Container, he said.

Columbus Container was founded on a shoestring “on a dirt road (in a building) with no heat,” Haddad said.

With just a few employees at the start, Haddad has spent half his life building the company and increasing the workforce to 260 people at its Columbus corrugated products facility.

“It’s grown and will continue to grow. That’s my legacy,” Haddad said.

The company’s footprint in Seymour grew after the purchase of Gardner Box Co. at 2200 D Ave. East at Freeman Field Industrial Park in 1992. At that time, Gardner Box was located in a 28,000-square-foot building on an 8.5-acre site. The name was changed to Columbus Container, Seymour Division, in 1993, and a project to demolish the existing building and build a new building was announced that same year.

Gardner Box Co.’s Seymour plant was established by Don Gardner of Chicago and Don Hindeman of Indianapolis in January of 1961. The plant began operation in the late summer of that year and made corrugated boxes for refrigerators and many other smaller containers.

In March 2013, Columbus Container announced plans to add 36,000 square feet to its warehouse facility at Freeman Field. The project, which didn’t include any new jobs, had a $3.08 million price tag and included additional dock and parking areas near the building. At the time, the Seymour division had 11 employees.

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