Paper costs can be a big expense for a foodservice operation. But if you’re looking for anything from highly absorbent paper towels that allow you to reduce your consumption, and are good for the environment, to dispensers that allow your customers to pull paper towels off the roll without touching anything, Nittany Paper may have what you’re looking for.
“Our products are produced from 100% recycled materials, and are certified ‘green,’” says Don Chapman,owner of Nittany Paper. Chapman started out in distribution in the New York City metropolitan area, buying paper from the large mills, then had a large customer suggest he start making his own. “I met an engineer who said hey, you know what, you’re buying so much paper, why don’t you try to make it yourself? And he said I’ll help and so I said okay.”
Chapman bought a machine and started making paper products with three people. “Now, we’ve got 120 employees,” Chapman said proudly. He was able to tap into some very talented young people in Central Pennsylvania who were hungry for jobs, and the rest is history.
“They jumped in their cars and drove across the United States knocking on doors saying, we’re the new kid on the block and give us a shot. And a lot of people gave us a shot. As an example, one of the largest privately owned companies in America said, ‘Sure, come on up. Glad to see a new face.’ And now they’re buying from us. I’m just shocked. It gives me goosebumps,” Chapman affirmed.
What makes it all work so well, noted Chapman, is that the company is flexible and nimble. “We’re small enough to be able to, when a customer asks for something, turn it around on a dime, with the ability to ship to Los Angeles or Baton Rouge, or Quebec or wherever it’s got to go.”
The company has grown from three or four items to well over 100, including folded towels, center pull towels, roll towels, napkins, thousand-foot rolls of toilet paper to dispensers, a total turnkey solution.
“When you’re selling to someone who’s providing paper to skyscrapers, and you’ve got 90 floors, you don’t want to employ someone to run up and down all 90 floors, all day, just replenishing the product. So, we have high capacity, but also paper that reduces consumption. It actually absorbs so much, you can use less of it.”
Not only that, the paper the company sells is Green-Seal-certified. Green Seal is a non-profit environmental standard development and certification organization. “We’re one of the only paper companies that has it,” Chapman stated. “In addition, we are the only company in America that has USDA-certified paper made from bamboo and sugar cane.
And if it’s volume you need, Nittany Paper has thousand foot rolls of paper towels. “We have thousand- foot bath tissue. Not sheets, thousand-foot bath tissue. We try to accommodate every industry. We just use an awful lot of common sense by listening to our customer’s needs,” Chapman pointed out.
When it comes to toilet paper and paper towels, it’s tough to “romance” it, as Chapman puts it. “But here’s the romance. We’re talking about bath tissue with no core, which saves on paper and waste. The bamboo sugar cane product is right up there. We also have new paper-making technologies called TAD, or Through Air Drying.”
TAD is a popular method to produce retail tissue and towel. Today, the majority of high-end retail bath tissue and towel is manufactured on a TAD machine.
Chapman explained it this way. “When I was a kid, you bought a can of soda out of a machine, putting 15 cents into a Coke machine and getting a tin can. I could hear it falling out of the machine. And now, what is the can made out of? Typically, it’s aluminum and it’s much lighter, but it still holds the same amount of fluid. That’s what TAD is. The focus of what’s happening now is using less natural resources, better technology to get the job done. We’re talking air, fluffing things up for absorbency. Touch-free dispensing. Nobody wants to touch anything anymore, nor should they, in the restroom.” Nittany sells its products through foodservice and janitorial distribution.
In terms of the future, the company is looking towards the end user, according to Chapman. “It can’t be where my distributor walks in and says, look, I have this, this and this. Well, who is Nittany Paper? They’ve got to at least say, yes, I saw that,” Chapman maintained.
As for selling online, Chapman is not going for it. “I still believe in my goal, which is to sell directly to family-run companies,” Chapman concluded. You can still learn about Nittany Paper’s products at their website, or give them a call at 888-288-7907.