"NO" Turns to Grow for The Packaging Wholesalers
By Kim Mikus, Daily Herald Business Ledger Writer
Mike Hrbacek's philosophy on the word "NO" may be a primary reason he is running a growing business that sells packaging materials to companies across the country.
Growing up with little money, Hrbacek recalls that when he would ask for things, his father's answer was usually "no." He grew to dislike the word.
His dislike for the word pleased his first employer though. The University of Arizona graduate was applying for a sales job selling boxes. During the interview, he was asked what he thought of the word no. He explained why he didn't like the word and that he does not take "no" for an answer. The boss liked this attitude and hired him on the spot.
About 14 months later, Hrbacek started his own business. His attitude of not taking no for an answer coupled with a strong work ethic has worked well for the salesman, who has altered the business into what it is today, The Packaging Wholesalers. He purchased the former Sherwin Williams building in Elgin at 1717 Gifford Road for $4 million and recently completed a $5.7 million renovation. "It was a tired, old building," Hrbacek said of the Elgin property, built in 1967 and most recently owned by Ball Corp.
Hrbacek explains that his company is a wholesaler of packaging supplies, from brown boxes to strapping to tape. "We have everything you need to package and ship your product," he said. He only sells to packaging distributors.
Moving from Schaumburg to Elgin, his business has quadrupled in size since the 2008 recession, he said. He has 90 employees in Elgin and another 40 at his Dallas, Texas facility that he opened in June.
The newly renovated 500,000-square-foot Elgin office features 51 truck docks and sells nationwide to all 43,000 ZIP codes, Hrbacek said. He added that the renovation took about 6 months and that it took five weeks, working 16-hour days, to make the move from Schaumburg. He said they are now very heavy into the technology needed to run the business. He added that he can offer better rates because of the large quantities of boxes and other supplies that they are able to order.
Hrbacek and his family have lived in Bartlett for the past 20 years. His oldest daughter is now involved with the business as well. Hrbacek grew up in Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. His work ethic started at a young age. His first job was a paper route. He said, "I learned that if I wanted something, I had to work for it."