If you’ve been to a supermarket or a pharmacy recently, there’s an exceedingly high chance that you’ve come across Vista Color’s handiwork.
The Miami-based packaging company got its start in the pre-press printing business, specializing in high-quality magazines, catalogues, and coffee table books. But today Vista Color is one of the more well-known box makers in the U.S., with pharmaceuticals, processed food, confectionary items and beauty products as its major staples.
It’s the responsibility of Juan Roque, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, to ensure that Vista Color’s products – custom folding cartons, in box-speak – stand out in a crowd.
“What stands out, what speaks to the consumer is the box. That’s what you’re going to grab,” Roque said. “The box is the biggest real estate you get.”
Vista Color’s Miami real estate – an 85,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility located in the heart of South Florida – exemplifies the firm’s impressive growth, which has not gone unnoticed. Vista Color earned MBDA’s 2017 National Minority Manufacturing Firm of the Year award. The company, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, was honored as part of MBDA’s MED Week event in Detroit in October and was later hosted by President Trump in the White House.
Needless to say, the firm has come a long way since its founding in 1968 by Cuban immigrants.
“The husband and wife team of Jesus and Alicia Serrano were journalists in Cuba and wanted to be journalists here in the U.S.,” said Catherine Finnemore, a Senior Account Executive with Vista Color. “They ended up in Miami and, realizing they had a family to feed, started a color separation business. It evolved from there.”
Roque was the longtime manager of printing operations at Dade International (formerly Baxter Healthcare) until Vista Color acquired the medical devices and printing operations department in 1998. That acquisition expedited Vista Color’s transition from a printing company to a full-blown manufacturer. Gone were all commercial printing jobs; in its place was a budding folding carton business.
“Even though printing is one of the aspects of the process, in the folding carton world and the box world, it’s just different because structural integrity is key to the functionality of your finished product and you’re considered a manufacturer, not a printer,” Roque said. “So today we’re at about 100 employees and are extremely efficient. We’re able to go after the bigger customers because we’re really diversified when it comes to folding cartons.”
Roque said that Vista Color’s growth is thanks in large part to the efforts of MBDA. Partnering with the MBDA Business Center has been “amazing,” Roque said. “The Miami and Orlando MBDA Business Centers have been instrumental in connecting Vista Color with new business opportunities."
“Thanks to the MBDA Business Centers, we are better at how we advertise ourselves, better at how we promote our products, more prepared for meetings with potential clients, and ultimately more successful in securing contracts. MBDA has definitely made a huge impact on our business.”
This year could be a significant one for Vista Color beyond just its milestone anniversary, including current contract bids to increase the company’s exports to Canada and Mexico, as well as being a contender as a preferred box vendor of large manufacturers of consumer goods and pharmaceutical.
“MBDA is helping us get in front of them,” Roque said. “The fact that you’re able to meet with those big corporations face to face, that’s huge. That’s been very important to us.”