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Jared Rusch and Leigh Ann Burbes, T.O. Plastics:

US: “Despite the challenges, this year’s record sales enables us to grow”

“The increasing trend in orders already started before COVID, but afterwards demand really increased exponentially,” says Jared Rusch, Director of Sales & Marketing at T.O. Plastics. Rusch and Leigh Ann Burbes, Senior Market Manager, explain how this year has actually been very positive for the producer of horticultural growing containers. “While shortages and labor challenges were luring in the background, we managed to continue our growth and are excited about our new launches.”

The team of T.O. Plastics at Cultivate’21  

Record sales numbers
Rusch explains that demand was already increasing before the pandemic started. “There was already an increasing trend in orders, but since the pandemic, the demand has increased exponentially to the point where we are experiencing record sales numbers. Of course, there were challenges, but it has been amazing to see such an incredible demand for our products in every single category.” The T.O. Plastics team does not anticipate the high sales to stop any time soon either. “Perhaps the future will bring a plateau in the sales, but the new gardeners are enjoying their new hobby and we are therefore expecting them to continue their interest. And for now, we are just very excited to play our part in this growing industry.”

Jared Rusch and Leigh Ann Burbes  

Material and labor shortages
Many companies in the industry have been affected by the recent shortages in raw materials. Yet fortunately, T.O. Plastics has been able to mostly manage this challenge. Rusch says, “We do Post Industrial Recycling, so we have been able to keep using that as our material. And when we did experience any shortages we were able to outsource them.” Instead, the main challenge for T.O. Plastics has been the shortage of labor, explains Burbes. “Because of the increased demand we have been trying to hire more people, yet it is difficult to find them. We want to continue our growth and increase our staff so that we can increase our capacity.”

The 450 Square Pot with Tag Slots  

Developing products with growers
T.O. Plastics recently launched their 450 square pot with tag slots, developed with the latest requirements of growers and retailers in mind. Burbes explains that their number one priority is to have a superior product for the people who will be using them. “When we design something, we always focus on incorporating benefits for our customers. For example, we can add vent holes for more airflow or add the tag slots for more convenience. And we don’t just do this when developing new products, we also modify existing products depending on what growers need. A lot of our new product launches come from what growers say.”

For more information:
T.O. Plastics