The company and its products: South Florida Tissue Paper Co. makes bathroom tissue, paper towels and industrial napkins for the wholesale market.
The firm, located in Miami Gardens, sells three of its own brands, SOFT, EXCELLENCE and ELITE, and makes private label brands for some of its customers.
“We produce superior quality, embossed products for a wide range of customers in the U.S., Central America and the Caribbean,” said Juan Corzo, the CEO of the family-owned business. “Our customers are distributors of paper products, plus supermarket chains, educational institutions, commercial and industrial companies, airports and cruise lines,” said Corzo, who moved here from Guatemala and set up the company’s first production line in Medley in 1997.
Most of its customers are in Florida (26 in South Florida) and in the Southeast.
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South Florida Tissue Paper Co. is a converter, which means it buys large rolls of paper from U.S. paper mills and cuts the paper into different product sizes, then embosses, inspects, packages, boxes and ships the finished products.
“We’ve been able to grow very fast in recent years because we’ve placed greater emphasis on sales, and can show customers that we offer a higher quality product at competitive prices,” said vice president Juan Corzo Jr., who started working full time at the company in 2013 as the national sales manager.
“In 2013, our monthly sales were at about $370,000, and now they’re about $900,00 per month,” said the vice president, who received a degree in production management from The City University of New York. “The cheapest products come from Asia, but people are willing to pay for a superior product,” he said.
South Florida Tissue Paper has 101,000 square feet of space for production, storage of raw materials and finished products and administrative offices at its headquarters. The plant, which has 65 employees, often runs 24 hours a day to meet production deadlines. It buys virgin and recycled paper, and offers customers either option.
Getting started: The Corzo family, originally from Guatemala, formerly owned and operated large paper production facilities in that Central American nation. In 1996, Juan Corzo, an executive in the family business, and his youngest son were kidnapped and held for ransom in Guatemala. The kidnappers cut off a finger from the elder Corzo’s left hand and sent it to the family with its ransom demands. The family agreed to pay, and Corzo, who had been held for 15 days, was released. The kidnappers then demanded a second ransom for the son, which the family paid. The criminals kept Corzo’s son as a hostage for a month before releasing him. In 1997, the family decided to invest in the U.S. and established South Florida Tissue Paper.
The difference: “We make embossed, 2-ply products that are superior in quality to competitors in our price range,” said Juan Corzo Jr. “They cover the range from mid-priced to more expensive and are very different from the cheaper paper products some companies sell.”
Sales: For 2015, revenues were $8.3 million. Revenues grew briskly in the three years leading up to 2015 and the company has a 2016 growth target of 20 percent.
Competitors: Kimberly-Clark, SCA, plus other large and mid-sized producers in the U.S. and Asia.
Learning experience: The company at one time decided to produce bakery boxes, but found that the new product line didn’t pay off. “We learned that we should concentrate on the products we have experience with and which we do best,” Corzo Sr. said.
Outside view: Inc. Magazine included South Florida Tissue Paper among its 5,000 fastest-growing American companies for 2016.
The Corzo family has built a impressive business here “based on hard work, honesty and integrity,” said John David Perez, CEO of Miami-based Perez Trading Co., which was founded in 1947. “It now supplies both the U.S. and Latin American markets with tissue and towel converted products that compete with leading multinational brands,” said Perez, who heads one of the largest suppliers to the printing, graphic arts and paper industries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
What customers say: “We’ve been working with South Florida Tissue Paper for close to 15 years and we do a substantial amount of business with them,” said Armando Caceres, owner of Medley-based All Florida Paper, which supplies products to a variety of sectors, including schools, food service, janitorial services and healthcare. “We buy our private label towels and tissue (PRO-BRANDS) from them as well as their own brands. We want a quality supplier and we need virgin fiber. The products must be at a strong price point and a certain quality, and they provide both for us. And in the rare case where there’s a problem, they take care of it in person. They’re an exceptional company.”
Javier Carbonell is manager of East Continental Supplies in Hialeah, a full-service paper and janitorial supply company. “We’ve been buying from them for more than three years and they supply our SWIFT private label brand towels and bath tissue. They have a decent price and can guarantee the quality that I can promote to customers,” said Carbonell. “I especially want someone who reacts quickly when I have an increase in demand. They are local and that makes a difference. They can react faster than an out-of-state producer, especially when demand is strong in the winter.”
Challenges and outlook: “Competition with Asia is a major challenge,” the CEO said. “To ensure future growth, we’re planning to expand our markets outside of Florida, invest in new production lines and add new products.”
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South Florida Tissue Paper Co.
Business: Produces quality, embossed bathroom tissue, center-pull paper towels and industrial napkins for commercial and industrial companies, supermarket chains, educational institutions, airports and cruise lines. A wholesale producer, the family-owned company sells its own brands (SOFT, EXCELLENCE and ELITE) as well as private label brands to large clients and distributors in the continental United States, Central America and the Caribbean. The firm purchases large rolls of virgin and recycled paper from U.S. paper mills and converts them into different product lines at its 101,000-square-foot facility in Miami Gardens.
Headquarters: 5590 NW 163rd St., Miami Gardens.
Founded: in Miami in 1997.
Founder: Juan Enrique Corzo, father of the current CEO.
Leadership: Juan Corzo, CEO, and Juan Corzo Jr., vice president
Employees: 65, many with more than 10 years of service
Owners: The Corzo family.
Source: South Florida Tissue Paper Co.