The Wilson brothers come from a family of five children who were raised on a farm in Wisconsin where leadership skills were learned through 4-H and a strong work ethic via the daily care of livestock that depended on them. Jack and Jim believe they inherited their Grandpa’s genes: Wilson for entrepreneurship, and Armstrong for creativity and the ability to recognize and act on trends before others could see them.
In June of 2010, the trend they decided to focus on was the GREEN movement toward environmental sustainability. With that as the stimulus, Jack saw an opportunity to create something that would markedly reduce society’s and industry’s reliance on tape to close boxes. It is commonly accepted that tape is not well-suited for box Re-Use or rapid Re-Entry to closed boxes. Working with Jim’s knowledge of business, law, and entrepreneurship, they formed Eco Latch Systems, LLC and produced the company’s first generation, extruded plastic Box Latch™. It worked well to close box flaps, but not well enough to allow for any sales success – so they redoubled their efforts.
Their research continued to produce alarming statistics on the massive number of boxes going to landfills, costs incurred by companies to purchase new boxes, and the fact that recycling requires 75% of the energy and water required for a box’s initial production. It was clear to them and their futuristic thinking that box Re-Use would trump recycling as an overpopulated, increasingly polluted world would embrace the principles of environmental sustainability.
As a result of their network of friends and advisors, they created and patented a second-generation, injection-molded Box Latch™, now called the Medium (BLM). Interest grew, including an inquiry from the Logistics Division of Toyota Parts Centre in Belgium. That, plus the fact that no one EVER said this was a “dumb” idea or project, fueled the belief that, with enough persistence, they could live up to the company’s mission of “Changing the Way the World Closes and Re-Uses Boxes.”
With key people at Toyota as their source of stimulation and corroboration, and the skills of Jim and Tom Niemiec of Imperial Tool and Plastics in Greendale, WI, the Box Latch™ Large (BLL) was produced. The new version worked extremely well for larger and thicker walled boxes, but did not solve Toyota’s box closing needs. After adding the creativity of Tom Wilcox, a design engineer from Waterford, WI to the team, the Wilson-Wilcox trio generated the Anchors that now are used to remarkably enhance the closing and holding capacity of the BLL. This addressed Toyota’s dilemma, but still not enough to solve the challenge presented by their expensive, thick walled, strong flap-memory, 36” x 27.5” x 48” palletized boxes. Thus, the Side Latch™ was invented. When used with the newly created, patent-pending Box Latch Anchors™, this duo closes almost any sized box.
Even better, it eradicates problems related to tape breakdown as a result of time, temperature, and humidity. This leads to upward “tenting” of the flaps due to normal “flap memory.” When this occurs, it impedes placing boxes on and removing them from the multi-tiered racking systems used in the transportation and storage warehouse industries.
People have always talked about the USA as the Land of Opportunity. The emergence of the Box Latch™ line of products, produced via the creativity, perseverance, positive attitude, and personal investment of two brothers whose ages average 69, and a 71-year old design engineer, proves that the American Dream is alive and well at any age.
We anticipate that the massive costs savings for the companies such as Vanity Fair (already using thousands of the BLMs and BLLs in it's Czech Republic Distribution Center), Toyota and others like them will expand the environmental benefits that led Jack and Jim to invent, produce, and market this New Millennium, sustainability focused, green line of products.