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