Spotlight: CEO Sara T. Hardy of Taylor Packaging
Managing and maintaining any business is tough enough, but doing it with a bank? Ugh! Sara Taylor Hardy, the whip-smart, energetic CEO of Taylor Packaging, a company located just south of St. Louis in Imperial, Missouri gave us a few hours of her time, walking us through the warehouse and into a fascinating world of design and packaging while sharing her unique perspective on she dumped her bank in favor of the Credit Union.
Credit Union: Tell us some history about Taylor Packaging…
Sara Hardy: Taylor Packaging was founded 1980 by my parents, Glen and Ginger Taylor, who saw a need in the industry for custom packaging. They applied and were granted a small business loan with the SBA. With that, they rented some warehouse space and bought one small thermoformer. With just one employee, one machine, and a big dream, they launched a custom packaging company that now employs 40 workers, 9 production lines and a complete design/engineering team.
CU: What types of products do you make?
SH: We produce a multitude of custom packaging including: clamshells, blisters, mock clams and tri-fold clamshells. Our top clients include the 3M Company and Duck Commander (featured in the show Duck Dynasty). From design to finished product, we do it all, including direct shipping to distribution centers.
CU: What is unique about Taylor Packaging?
SH: Being a business that is family owned, Taylor Packaging truly cares about our clients. We offer custom packaging at an affordable price, and deliver quality parts. We can accommodate a variety of needs: from customers that need 1,000 parts for a new product, to those who need hundreds of thousands.
CU: How have you grown?
SH: In 36 years, we have grown into a 25,000 square foot manufacturing facility that we now own. We have experienced many growing pains along the way: Personnel changes, large contracts have been pulled unexpectedly, and when Katrina hit we faced a rise in raw material prices.
CU: What are some of the toughest challenges you faced?
SH: Like all businesses, we have had many ups and downs. In the toughest of times, my mother Ginger mortgaged her own home and used college funds she had set aside for her children. Luckily, her calculated risks paid off, and Taylor Packaging continues to grow.
CU: What spurred your decision to switch to American Eagle for Business Lending?
SH: We switched to American Eagle because most of the big banks we had been doing business with kept changing the rules, requesting more and more documentation and even telling us how to run our business. American Eagle offered simple solutions that helped our financing—we did not have to jump through hoops. They treat us with respect.
CU: What are some of the benefits of being with American Eagle?
SH: AECU lets us run our business without all the nonsense. The Credit Union coached us through a refinance, extended our line of credit and helped orchestrate the best practices to finance our business.
CU: Why is the Credit Union a better place for your business than a bank?
SH: They do what they say. We would rather be a bigger fish in the small credit union world than one of thousands of small fish in the big banking world. They do not expect too much and are always available when we need direction.
CU: Where do you see your company in five or ten years?
SH: We are hoping to buy one of the closed business on our street and expand our Engineering Department to help grow the company. Packaging is changing and we are constantly looking for way to keep pace with technology and our client needs.
CU: What makes you most proud?
SH: I am proud of our success in the small business world and the fact that my parents have been able to retire comfortably knowing that the business is secure. We have been able to keep up with industry standards and changes within the packaging world, and we employ about 40 people, half of whom have provided over 10 years of service with our company. We were voted one of the Top Female Business Owners in 2014 and are a preferred supplier for 3M Company.
CU: Would you recommend American Eagle to other business owners?
SH: Absolutely. Best financial institution we have ever dealt with!