By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – Mississippi Paper Co. has a new owner, having been recently acquired by Jackson-based Jackson-Newell Paper Group for an undisclosed sum.
“We’ve got a lot of business in the Tupelo area and we’re looking to support the customers we have and expand business by making this acquisition,” said Bill Allen, chairman and CEO of the Jackson Paper Co. Group.
Helping with the transition of owner ship will be Walter Scott, who has been president of Mississippi Paper since 1999. He joined the 55-year-old company in 1977.
The company was founded in August 1960, as a branch of Paper Products Co. of Memphis.
“We were supplying companies like Bryan Foods, Mid-South Packers, Purnell’s Prides and other big companies,” Scott said.
Through the years, Mississippi Paper Co. has had several owners, Scott said.
“We first sold out in 1984 to Century Papers in 1984, then it sold out to National Sanitary Supply in 1988, and then in 1998 it should out to Unisource,” he said. “I stayed about a year and decided to go in business by myself.”
And because Mississippi Paper Co. was not carried over by Unisource, Scott reincorporated the name in 1999.
“But now I’m between 67 and 68 years old and I needed an exit strategy,” he said. “A business my size wasn’t going to get a national company to buy me. I knew it would take a regional distributor. Bill and I met and we were able to make this transaction. I’m going to stay a while to help with the transition, help with the business and do what he asks me to do.”
Jackson Paper Co. has been in business since 1921 and is a wholesale paper distributor. Having started in Jackson. It expanded into Meridian in 1948 after purchasing the Newell Paper Co., and later expand into Columbus and Hattiesburg and Demopolis, Alabama.
Newell Paper in Columbus has been handling business in the Tupelo area, but that will soon transfer to what is Mississippi Paper. The company will later be renamed Newell Paper Co..
Allen said Mississippi Paper “brings a lot of knowledge into the company, especially in industrial packaging . ... they also bring a lot of experience, and with the growth that’s going on in Tupelo and the area, we felt like we needed to be here.”
Jackson Paper Co. was founded in 1921 by Harvey Newell, and the business began selling industrial paper products like paper towels, toilet paper and cups, later adding fine printing paper, janitorial supplies and equipment. Now, the company sells more than 7,000 different products to its customers under three primary product lines: fine printing papers, industrial grade papers and janitorial supplies and equipment.
“We do business the old-fashioned way,” Allen said. “We still call on customers and we still go door-to-door.
Scott said he has enjoyed his years with Mississippi Paper and isn’t quite ready to retire.
“I’ve enjoyed the business all these years, but I’m still in too good of health to want to quit,” he said. “But I’ve had my share of ownership and its time now to pass the torch.”