Landen Strapping Corp. is recognized around the world as a global company, but the small niche firm isn’t well-known in central Virginia.
“People here think of us as a mom-and-pop operation. It’s like we don’t have street credibility,” said Carl Carden Jr., who owns the Hopewell-based company with his brother, Chris. “It’s hard to get the word out.”
Landen Strapping provides end-of-line closure products, from industrial packaging machinery and strapping materials to stretch film and glue systems. The company works with the corrugated box, lumber, textile, tobacco and beef, poultry and pork industries.
“We just developed a machine last year for the linen industry that can do high-speed bundling for hospital and restaurant linens,” Carl Carden said. “That is one of the biggest industries. People do millions of piles of linen a day. We think that will be huge for us.”
The company sells its products all over the world.
“We just shipped machines to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa,” Carl Carden said. “Our machines are found all over Africa now, mostly used for the tobacco industry.”
Carden’s father, Carl, and his uncle, Marshall Carden, started Landen Strapping in 1978 as a service company for automatic strapping machines that bundled corrugated boxes.
The company began to expand into the Midwest in 1984 when Carl Carden came aboard. His brother, Chris, joined the business in 1987.
“We were starting to expand and sell into the textile, protein, lumber and tobacco industries,” he said. “At the time we were mainly selling strapping machines that were made in South Korea and Japan.”
In 1993, their father wanted Landen Strapping to sell its own line of machines and looked for a manufacturer in South Korea to build his vision.
“They put the machines together with components we wanted them to use that were sourced from the U.S. or Europe,” Carl Carden said. “We introduced some configurations of strapping machines that were unaccepted in the industry at the time.”
Landen Strapping introduced bottom-seal stainless-steel automatic strapping machines to replace side-seal machines that were cumbersome for operators.
“We had people calling us to represent our equipment,” Carl Carden said. “We set up distributors across the U.S. and worldwide.”
The company upgrades the technology used in base machines once the manufacturer ships them to Landen Strapping’s headquarters-machinery division in Hopewell. It also has a strapping division in Prince George County.
“We take an ordinary strapper and make it do things it couldn’t do,” Carl Carden said. “We mold it to do what we want.”
The company maintains all of the machines it sells.
“We travel all over the world servicing machines. The thing that sells us is our service. Most of our competitors have no service,” said Carl Carden, noting that he and his brother took over the company in 2000. “We wanted to fulfill our father’s dream.”
Manny Dias, plant manager for manufacturer NYP Corp. in Elizabeth, N.J., has been doing business with Landen Strapping for almost 20 years.
“Companies like Landen in this area are a dime a dozen,” he said. “Their product is superior to anyone I have done business with. I have encouraged them to do more business with people in my area.”
From 2000 to year-to-date, Landen Strapping’s revenue has almost tripled.
“We have withstood any storms economically because of our diversity,” Carl Carden said. “We have gotten into selling stretch-film machines and automatic taping systems. We are hoping to break into the brewing and pharmaceutical industries as well.”
Carl Barnes, plant manager for poultry producer Sanderson Farms in Mississippi, praises the company’s customer service.
“They have great service after the sale. You can call them day or night, and they are there,” he said. “We work off of a fresh product, so we don’t have downtimes. Being able to have a supplier that can meet our needs and be there when we need them is important.”