All Big Businesses Start Small: JayHawk Boxes

Microsoft and Apple started in garages, and Facebook started in a dorm room.

Meanwhile, Dorothy Lynch started selling her famous salad dressing at a Legion Hall in St. Paul, Nebraska. Todd Booth began his successful automotive business by working in the wash bay at a local car dealership after he graduated from high school.

While GROW Nebraska businesses haven’t reached the magnitude of Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, many have grown from small businesses to successful enterprises that are continually increasing sales, creating jobs and bringing Nebraska to the world.

GROW Nebraska members Dorothy Lynch, Jayhawk Boxes, Baker’s Candies, Platte Valley Auto and Fat Boy BBQ are all successful businesses that started small and have grown tremendously in the past few decades.

Success didn’t happen overnight for these small-town Nebraska businesses. From creating quality products to treating customers well and keeping up with technology, each business has created its own unique path to prosperity. And, for many, GROW Nebraska has played a part in their success.

JayHawk Boxes

-Fremont, NE

Jayhawk Boxes originally set up shop in Fremont in 1957 to make boxes for Hormel Foods. Today, the company makes boxes, displays and other products for businesses mainly in the Midwest but also across the United States.

Jayhawk recently completed a $17 million expansion project that included adding 65,000 square feet of space, upgrading machinery and adding employees to boost its staff size to 69 people.

The company can design and create a box for any product in almost any shape, size or color. They also design and create floor and counter displays, yard signs and more and can personalize boxes with photos or names. 

Sales Representative Scott Reeson, who has been employed with Jayhawk Boxes for 32 years, works with each business owner to design custom boxes to best fit the product.

Reeson said the company has grown tremendously during his tenure: “Since I’ve been here, we’ve expanded four times, built onto the building, and we probably had about 40 employees when I started.”

He said part of the reason for the company’s success is the focus on keeping up with technology and treating employees and customers well.

“The owner of our company believes in keeping up the times,” Reeson said. “We have to continually look for new machines, faster machines and machines that will help the workforce and cut down on workforce injuries, and he’s willing to spend the money on our plant. We can produce a box faster now than we ever have.”

Reeson added that Jayhawk doesn’t experience much employee turnover, and “it’s a great place to work.”

Being a member of GROW Nebraska has allowed Reeson to connect with business owners who need his company’s product. For example, GROW members can set up a booth in the networking plaza of the annual MarkeTech conference. This year’s conference will be held July 15. Click here for more information about the conference.

“It’s allowed me to meet some very interesting people throughout the years and it’s allowed me to help a lot of people where they wouldn’t know where to go to get a box to package their product,” he said. “We can modify the box and make it the exact size for your product. That means less damage when GROW members are shipping their product.”

He also can refer his clients to other GROW Nebraska members who can help them with anything from labels and bags to where to buy locally-raised beef.

“I think GROW and everything they are doing is fantastic,” he said. “I’ve never met anyone with GROW who hasn’t been helpful and courteous, and I’m proud to be a member.”

For more information on JayHawk Boxes, click here.

Story by Kristine Jacobson, GROW Nebraska member and owner of KRJ Public Relations, a business that helps non-profits and businesses tell their stories and gain momentum through blogs, newsletters, annual reports, social media and other publications.

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