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My Customer's Customer, Myself

Integrated Packaging Corp, located in New Brunswick, N.J., uses his inner city location as a competitive advantage to win customers.
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The Inner City 100

Places

Some CEOs play down their inner-city location when they're talking to customers. Al Fuller trumpets his to the skies.

Fuller is cofounder of Integrated Packaging Corp. (#75), a New Brunswick, N.J., company that makes boxes and corrugated paper. Fuller's customers include consumer-products colossi like PepsiCo, a corporation whose soft drinks -- not coincidentally -- sell well in urban areas. "Pepsi wants its supplier base to look more like its customer base," says Fuller. "So being in the inner city becomes a competitive advantage."

Other companies regard inner cities as an untapped revenue opportunity. Hiring vendors like Integrated Packaging sends "a signal" to those communities, says Fuller. Perhaps even more important, inner-city companies hire inner-city residents, boosting the workers' income in the process. "Companies like Kraft and Procter & Gamble sell premium products," explains Fuller. "It's important to them to build consumers who can buy Bounty instead of the generic version. That's the longer-term business case."


The Inner City 100

City Lights
There are a million stories in the inner cities. These are some of them.
Winnebago Take All Team 2000 Staffing Services (#62)
Visible Signs of Relief Robinwood Inc. (#29)
In the Bank Sherman Assembly Systems (#95)
The English Impatient Crystal Window & Door Systems Ltd. (#86)
Fish Fry Clearwater Fisheries (#21)
Border Fulfillment Miratek Corp. (#22)
My Customer's Customer, Myself Integrated Packaging Corp. (#75)
Take My Franchise, Please Candy Bouquet International Inc. (#37)
After-School Special GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. (#27)
All About Eaves Aztec Roofing & Sheetmetal Corp. (#58)

Comeback Markets
Most companies have taken a pass on the huge inner-city service market. Some smart CEOs are eagerly filling the void.

Who Wants to be a Milliner?
The story of this year's #1 Inner City 100 company.

The Inner City 100 Almanac
Fast facts about the Inner City 100 CEOs and their businesses.

The List
The fastest-growing private inner-city companies.


Please e-mail your comments to editors@inc.com.

Last updated: May 1, 2001

LEIGH BUCHANAN | Staff Writer | Editor-at-large, Inc. Magazine

Leigh Buchanan is an editor-at-large for Inc. magazine. A former editor at Harvard Business Review and founding editor of WebMaster magazine, she writes regular columns on leadership and workplace culture.




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