Italian bagging machinery maker to open U.S. headquarters in Akron

Family-owned Ravizza Packaging, based in Italy, will open its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Akron.

The Turin company will locate in 4,000- quare feet of space in the Akron Global Business Accelerator off South Main Street in the former B.F. Goodrich complex.

Ravizza makes small bagging machines, the Simplicita Bag Smart, that it sells to companies to produce plastic bags, primarily for the automotive, health care, and food and beverage industries.

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic made the formal announcement Friday morning at City Hall.

Ravizza decided to locate its U.S. operations in Akron following initial discussions with Akron officials at a trade show in Germany.

The U.S. company, to be called Ravizza Packaging USA Corp., initially will have three employees while planning to add more as it ramps up production and sales. In upcoming months it will bring in nine large machines for its operations.

While Ravizza will import core parts of its machine from Italy, it will use local suppliers for its Akron operations for other needed parts and processes.

Ravizza Packaging’s decision to locate in Akron caught the attention of five other European companies that also are now thinking of starting operations here, said Sam DeShazior, deputy mayor for economic development. He declined to name the companies and what they do but said Akron planned to host company executives in November.

Ravizza Packaging currently sells primarily in Europe and recently expanded into South America and New Zealand. The company has annual revenue of about $3.4 million and 25 core employees in Italy.

“It’s a very, very small machine. It’s a very, very flexible machine,” said Robert Ravizza, the third-generation family member who now runs the company, of the product they make.

Setting up operations in the United States will allow Ravizza Packaging to enter new markets, he said. Akron proved attractive in large part because of the other polymer and plastic companies in the area, including potential customers, he said.

The company got its start in 1938 making wood crating and shipping containers. The company expanded into making bagging machinery through the creation of Ravizza Packaging in 1982.

Roberto Ravizza’s 17-year-old son, Francesco, will help the company with its transition into the U.S. as he finishes high school and goes on to college.

Trace Bocan was hired to run the U.S. subsidiary and to grow the company.