“We’re optimistic about what we see in Shreveport and northwest Louisiana,” Scott Sevier, Sigma Supply Shreveport manager, said when looking back on nearly 10 years of growth.
Located in west Shreveport near major transportation hubs, Sigma Supply is a packaging distributor that specializes in packaging products and equipment for packaging. In fact, they’re one of the only packaging equipment service companies in all of Louisiana.
“We’re like a giant mercantile store for manufacturers and distributors,” explained Neal Chandler, Shreveport branch manager. “What makes us unique is that we can work with a customer to design the packaging for their product, and take it all the way from whatever they’ve come up with to where it’s on the shelf at a major retailer.”
Companies Sigma Supply sells to include major corporations like FedEx, Walmart, and Auto Zone, as well as businesses from Las Vegas to South Carolina.
Started in 1972 in Hot Springs, Ark., by the Hamby family, the company now has 14 locations across the nation and expanded to Shreveport about eight years ago. The Shreveport location, which is now located off Al Bourland Drive, was kicked off by Sevier and Cozie Wilhite in May 2011.
They began with 10,000 square feet of space and, in eight years, have grown to 10 times that.
“It has been great, but it has been like holding onto a moving train, too” Sevier joked. “We started out with our own space, took up the rest of the building we started out in, took up the building behind us, moved out here, and then doubled that to 100,000 square feet. And now we’ve got an area identified for a future expansion.”
Part of that reason for success is that their location, and Shreveport in general, offers solid transportation infrastructure. Sevier noted their location allows Sigma Supply to service their customers in almost all of Louisiana, south Arkansas, and east Texas.
Chandler added that Shreveport lying at the crossroads of of I-20 and I-49 gives the company an easy route in all directions.
“Infrastructure is very important to our business. The fact that we can get things to the customer the next day, or that day if we have to, is crucial,” Sevier said.
Their success also comes down to their business philosophy.
For Chandler, that means treating everyone fairly.
“Customers want to feel like they’re treated fairly, you want to treat them fair, and you want a long term relationship. You want to do the right thing so they succeed and you can succeed. If you take that attitude, they’ll grow and you’ll grow,” he said.
Sevier echoed this by saying that in his 35 years in the business, he has learned there has to be a level of trust from a customer.
“In a production environment, we could fail to supply a roll of tape and they’ll have to send people home. It’s hard to understand, but that’s the way it works,” he said. “We have items that are necessary to a company’s production and it could seem insignificant, but it will shut the whole thing down.”
“Our job is to meet that need every single day, with no days off. We get up and go to work every day with the goal to meet customers’ needs,” Sevier added.
But he also puts emphasis on being flexible.
“The customer drives this whole thing. Because our customers are so diverse, we don’t walk in with a finite box of things we sell. If the customer is buying it, we’ll figure it out,” Sevier concluded.