THE INIMITABLE MINNIE WILSON.
It’s not easy raising two boys. But when you’re raising them as a single mother during the Great Depression, the feat seems almost herculean. After her husband passed away at an early age, it was all on Minnie Wilson to take care of brothers Ernest and Charles. Even on a shoestring budget, she taught her two little guys one hugely important lesson:
There’s always someone less fortunate than you.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A DIME.
Back in the day, Minnie would give her boys a dime to go to the movies or to buy a couple of hamburgers (yes, a couple of burgers for 10 cents). She didn’t always have this to give them, so it was a real treat. But she did—always—have a dime for people in need. This is arguably the most important thing she instilled in her sons. Kindness and charity come first.
Both of our founding brothers served in WWII. Ernest in the Air Force and the Navy (What?!) and Charles in the Army. After returning to the states in 1946, Charles was met by his older brother at the train station with a hug and an opportunity. The exchange went roughly as follows:
Ernest, “We’re in business.”
Charles, “Great. Who works for us?”
Ernest, “Me and you!”
The two young men began running the company themselves out of an LA garage, which is about as lean as it gets. And neither could have imagined what it would become.
GROWING LARGER. STAYING GROUNDED.
Over the years, the business began to thrive. When you have two people with the spirit and discipline of our founding co-founders, it’s not too hard to imagine. They acquired Accurate Container, one of the first corrugated manufacturers, in 1954. They expanded their manufacturing services to include Cal Carton in 1963. As they continued to extend their reach and offering, they stayed true to what their mother taught them. By giving back to the LA community early and often. As is often the case, Charles sums it up nicely:
“When you can help someone, that’s the best thing in the world.”
A FAMILY-RUN LEGACY.
True to his mother’s words, Charles raised his children to greet the world with the same sense of kindness and charity. In 1990, Tim Wilson stepped up to play a bigger role at Ernest Paper Company. And although our name has since changed to Ernest Packaging Solutions, both Charles and Tim still hold their original titles, Charles as Chairman and CEO, and Tim as President. This familial feel extends to those who work at Ernest, as well. When you ask a team member at Ernest what it’s like to work here, the answer is usually, “It’s like a big family.”
A SHINING MILESTONE.
Today, with 13 locations across the nation, Ernest Packaging Company is celebrating 75 years in business. It’s an extraordinary achievement for any family-run company. But it has everything to do with our extended Ernest family, i.e. the 500+ people who work within our walls. They call the 75th anniversary the diamond anniversary. But to us, it’s a whole lot more than a gem stone. It’s a milestone. And a constant reminder to stay true to our humble beginnings and, going forward, to always remember to give back.