A mundane moment in college led Gil Korine, founder of Central Islip-based Avco Industries, to his big business idea.
Korine, a Stony Brook University student in the ‘80s, walked into the kitchen of the Centereach home he was renting with friends and opened a pizza box on the counter to find no slices were left. But where could he order more?
“I didn’t know where this person ordered pizza from because this box was a generic box,” Korine recalls. “I said, ‘You know what, every pizzeria should have their name on the box.’ Back then, unless you were a Pizza Hut or a Domino’s, it was very rare to have your name on the box.”
Avco Industries Gets an Unlikely Start
So after earning his degree in biochemistry at Stony Brook, Korine nixed his plan to go to med school and started Avco Industries in 1990.
Since then, the company has grown a clientele base of thousands of small takeout restaurants and other businesses that buy not only pizza boxes but all kinds of branded paper products, including bags, cups, plates, wax paper, bakery boxes, and more.
“Our focus is to sell to local shops,” Korine says. “A big part of our goal is to give a local coffee shop the same image as a Starbucks.”
The company owner adds that with social media, branded paper products are more important than ever for a small business’s recognition.
Avco Industries Guides Locals Into 21st Century
“Years ago, if you were a coffee shop or pizzeria, you would sell to your local customers and would be recognized locally. Because of social media, that changes everything,” he says. “If you’re at a cool coffee shop or pizzeria and it’s great, very often you post a photo of the box or cup showing the name of the place and it gives them more exposure.”
Korine notes that the company is “green by default,” recycling any paper waste to make new products.
Avco manufactures at several locations across the United States: Florida, Colorado, Georgia, New Jersey, and, of course, its hub in Central Islip, which employs hundreds of people on the Island.