Wausau Pilot & Review
Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing email@example.com.
This week’s featured Wausau business is Wausau Coated Products, a family-owned and leading manufacturer of pressure sensitive roll and sheet products located on the city’s west side. Wausau Coated Products, headquartered at 7801 Stewart Ave., specializes in developing custom-engineered solutions for customers around the world. The company was founded in 1981 by former Wausau Papers employees who believed in the future potential of the pressure sensitive label industry. Bill Reif, one of the company’s two founders, worked to develop a body of chemistry that allowed them to manufacture sensitive label products completely from water-based raw materials, a unique process at the time. That, along with a revolutionary paper manufacturing technique, led to the evolution of what eventually became the Wausau Coated we know today. Now, with hundreds of paper and film facestocks and liners, along with in-house adhesive and silicone blending, Wausau Coated has the unique ability to create thousands of pressure sensitive constructions – think everything from inkjet to wine and spirits to health and beauty processes, wall coverings, stickers and more. The Wausau Coated Team, spearheaded by Bill Reif’s son, President and CEO Ben Reif, truly acts as a family, with 245 employees who work together to create a superb range of products in a fun, friendly environment. The company is seeing significant growth, adding another 40 positions as they expand in Wausau with new equipment launching in 2022 and 2023. Read on to learn more about the Wausau Coated vision and their exciting plans for the future!
What kinds of products do you produce?
Wausau Coated Products (WCP) is a privately-owned manufacturing business headquartered in Wausau, Wisconsin. WCP manufactures materials serving the pressure sensitive label and tape industry as well as flexible packaging films.
What is your vision statement?
Our vision is to be the preferred source for specialty and custom products to our customer base of label and packaging converters. Our efforts are defined by our ability to safely work as a team delivering value through innovation, quality and service.
You recently had a ribbon cutting to celebrate a major milestone. Tell us about that.
We celebrated our new production coating line that will expand our capacity to make label and tape materials to serve customers around the world. Wausau Coated began the most significant capital expansion in its history in October 2020 to add capacity for specialty label machinery used in wine and spirits, grocery, medical, and other specialty applications. The new manufacturing line -referred to as “Coater #14”- will produce material for billions of labels per month, continuously laminating materials 5 feet wide at up to 20 miles per hour. Custom-designed by the WCP Technology group, the production line is built with 75% regionally made materials plus other world-class imported equipment. The new operating line will create 40 full-time skilled manufacturing jobs in Marathon County. The ribbon cutting celebrated that important milestone.
“Coater #14 is a unique piece of equipment,” CEO Ben Reif said. “There’s no other machine like it in the world. We have a history of designing and building our coating equipment. This coater is the newest, best, and biggest example of a singularly unique coating machine.”
One of your keys to success has been your ability to adapt to changing trends and market conditions. How are things different now from a business standpoint compared to when you launched?
The label and flexible packaging markets are much more fragmented than they were 4 decades ago, with tremendous variety now expected as normal. Our industry has expanded and become more global as well.
What is the best thing about doing business in the Wausau area?
We enjoy the hard-working nature of people in the Wausau area and have drawn most of our staff from the region. The supporting companies for transportation, electrical and mechanical services are vital to us, as is the health care network from whom we get benefits for our staff. Notably, 75% of our new production line was built with regionally made materials.
“Having grown up and raised a family here, Wausau has long been an important reason for our success, and for that matter, who the Reif family is,” Ben said. “We are proud of the opportunity to create more jobs for the area, for Wausau Coated Products, and continue to make Wausau our home.”
What makes you different from other similar businesses around the country? What sets you apart?
Wausau Coated is fast, friendly and behaves like a big family. We are the quickest at new product design and introduction in the label segment. Our commitment to our customers, community and employees is unmatched in the industry and we’re proud of our reputation.
Where do you see your business in five years? 10?
We expect Wausau Coated to be doubled in size in 5 to 7 years, with more production here in Wausau and other locations under consideration. We now serve 30 export countries and expect that to continue.
You’ll be adding staff. Are you hiring now?
Yes! This is a fun place to work with a quick-moving, easy-going attitude among the group. Application materials can be found here.
Connect with Wausau Coated Products:
Address: 7801 Stewart Avenue, Wausau 54401