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From a Horse and Wagon

January 2, 2024


In this episode we talk with Bob Cohen, President, Acme Corrugated Box.

Bob Cohen’s family went from selling rags to selling used boxes to creating an innovative manufacturing company. With humility, Cohen shares his company’s story of growth and how he and his wife chose to give back to the community that supported them.

Spurred on by the tight market in the 1970s, Cohen went from being a distributor to a converter, starting with a used letterpress. Following his instincts, Cohen continued to grow the company and eventually brought his three sons into the family company.

About Bob & Acme

My name is Burton (Bob) R. Cohen, and I have been involved with my family business since 1969 after a short stint in the Army Reserves. I graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia and Penn State University, majoring in History (Bachelor of Arts). When I joined the company, we had five employees. We distributed corrugated packaging in the local market, and we generated annual revenues of about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. In 1973, we purchased the first converting equipment, allowing us to produce corrugated packaging ourselves. Our start was primitive, but somehow, we survived in a market with better-equipped and more seasoned competitors. In 1980, the company moved from Philadelphia to the Bensalem area (a Philadelphia suburb). There, we occupied a 60,000 square feet facility, which allowed us to expand our manufacturing capability and add a larger workforce. We prospered there until the early 2000s and in 2001, we were given the opportunity to further integrate our manufacturing operation with the addition of corrugating capacity (2 Narrow Width Agnati Corrugators). This equipment acquisition necessitated our move to our present location in Hatboro. The new building has 234,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Looking around, we initially felt, “How will we ever fill this space!” We filled it a lot quicker than expected.

We had seen steady growth since the major recession of 2009, essentially increasing the sales volume by 75% by 2016. We continued to add converting lines as our business grew. Between 2016 and 2019, we had increased sales by 57%. We also added four additional converting lines in that same timeframe prior to the Pandemic. As our volume increased, it became apparent that we needed far more space and more converting lines. With a focus on our clients and their growing demands, we investigated how an expansion could be executed while the economy was in the throes of the Pandemic. Believing there is no going backward in business, we took the plunge. The plans drawn up would make us the most progressive and best-equipped independent converter in the Northeast region. So, in November of 2020, we began construction. We added 80,000 square feet (with heights of 40’”& 60’ to accommodate roll stock and the WIP system) and numerous new machinery including a 110” Fosber 1500 ft/min three stage corrugator, a Warak high rack WIP system developed in Europe, A Warak roll delivery system, full conveyorization of the entire facility (WSA & Ducker), a new waste and starch system, a dust collection system, the movement of entire departments within the facility and the addition of two new converting lines. The project was completed in April of 2023. At present, we employ 250 staff members, and presently our revenues are almost 2 times as great as our 2016 revenue had been.

Our Management Team includes our General Manager, Jeremy Cohen, with 23 years of converting and industrial engineering experience, our Vice President of Finance, David Platt, 34+ years of corporate financial reporting responsibility, our Human Resources Manager- Heidi Morrison, 37+ years in Employee Relations, Operations Manager, Joseph Hodges, 26+ years of production experience. For the last twenty years, we have had an active outside Board of Advisors who meet formally with senior management four times a year. At these meetings, which are sometimes held offsite, all aspects of our operations are reviewed. The skill set of the Board is varied but runs the gamut. Each Board member brings not only significant general business experience but also specific, compartmentalized focus on the different disciplines that make up the normal company’s departments.

On a personal note, I represent the second generation of family ownership. I have been with the company since 1969. My two older sons, Erik (a University of Miami Science Major) and Jeremy (a University of Pennsylvania Bio Engineering Major), joined me over 22+ years ago and hold important positions with the company. My wife and I live in New Hope. My youngest son, Alex, graduated from Lehigh University in May 2015 (a Major in Supply Chain Management), followed by a 5-year stint at an Amazon facility in Hebron, Kentucky. He started working at Acme in 2019 and now runs our Quality and Continuous Improvement Department. I have five grandchildren and all my sons live within 1/2 hour of each other and the facility. My wife is an attorney and a businesswoman who recently retired as a university professor and had taught various law courses for undergraduates at Rider University. When possible, we like to travel and, when not preoccupied by our careers, we spend considerable time on charitable endeavors.

I retain a passion for my business. I derive great pleasure from the growth of the organization and the personal growth of our young staff. After 53+ years, I continue to enjoy the challenges, the changes, and the opportunities in the marketplace. We are honored to be recognized as a business that has stood the test of time, 105 years to be exact, that remains Independent and is set to be run by the third generation. The American dream is two generations from extreme poverty to a platform for continuing success.

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This podcast is brought to you by AICC, The Independent Packaging Association. Learn more at When you invest and engage, AICC delivers success.

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