Time in a bottle holds success for Farmington Hills family firm

The story of Max Jacob’s bottling business reads like a rags-to-riches tale.

It all began in 1885, when Jacob, a Lithuanian immigrant to Detroit, began collecting glass bottles from the 21 breweries that then produced beverages in the Motor City. He would sort them in his yard and then sell them back for use in manufacturing factories.

125 years later, M. Jacob and Sons is still in the bottle business – but they now build molds for bottles and packaging for products. The Farmington Hills-based firm’s 2010 sales are up 17%, making this year the best in their century-plus history. Jacob has made products for companies like Vernor’s, Faygo, Amway, Pepsi, Sanders, Perrigo, Dow Chemical, Pfizer and OxiClean. And with 45 employees, they say they’re still small enough to quickly adjust to market conditions.

Excerpt:

“The company was one of the first to sell plastic bottles and one of the first to hire a female saleswoman when it brought on third-generation descendent Elaine Jacob in 1953 to head the plastics division. Plastics became the big industry after World War II; now 95% of the company’s sales are in plastic bottles.

And it took a chance on Amway, selling the Grand Rapids-area company its first bottles in the late 1950s on credit and sweated until the bill was paid.

That’s just one of many long relationships M. Jacob & Sons has. The company is Comerica Bank’s oldest customer.

M. Jacob & Sons also continues to start new relationships such as its work with 5-Hour Energy, said David Lubin, chief operating officer. It started to supply the energy drink company with bottles about five years ago as the product took off. It designed a large bottle mold so the company could quickly make the bottles.”

Read more of M. Jacob & Sons’ story here.