Once just a senior project, Restoration Packaging is now a nationally and internationally utilized business. Founded by Alex Henige, Restoration Packaging is a one-for-one sustainable packaging company that produces compostable and recyclable cups, to-go containers, utensils and more for the foodservice industry.
“Essentially, with each product served we plant a plant at a local restoration site,” Henige explained about the company’s one-for-one sustainability aspect. “We partner with local restoration groups in all the territories that our products are served… to design the most effective restoration programs.”
Through a process called hydroseeding, Restoration Packaging, corporately known as Reduce. Reuse. Grow. Inc., mass-plants seeds to make a strong impact in areas of need. The company also works to increase consumer awareness of local restoration efforts so that they can give back through their everyday purchases.
The company’s successes haven’t happened overnight, though, as Henige went through both the HotHouse Accelerator and Incubator programs, with three years in between his departure from those Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) programs and now.
“The accelerator program was a solid foundation for us, really taking the senior project concept and then transforming that into an actual business model,” said Henige. “And then in the incubator program, we were able to take what we learned from the accelerator and… really implement it.”
While building Restoration Packaging in the HotHouse, Henige was able to use CIE resources and networking to get his products into around 45 shop locations, with local Paso Robles company Spearhead Coffee being his first customer.
In the three years since leaving the incubator program, the number of shops and restaurants using Restoration Packaging products has now risen to over 800 nationwide. The company is even reaching internationally, now partnering with 7-Eleven Canada to advance its sustainable packaging efforts.
As the company’s reach is expanding, so is its product line. Restoration Packaging currently supplies around 40 different products with hopes of expanding closer to 100 in the following couple of years.
Even with all of the expansions, though, Henige says that the CIE is still a key player in his company’s success, as well as a continual inspiration to him.
“Many of our mentors that we still talk to on a week-to-week basis are very involved with the CIE,” he explained. “I think it’s pretty neat, being still connected with the CIE [and] seeing new companies come in and ultimately flourish into legitimate businesses a couple of years out.”
Flourishing years after starting in the CIE is exactly what Restoration Packaging has done, all while staying locally rooted.
“The San Luis Obispo community, I think, is perfect to launch a company, especially one like ours that’s in the environmental space,” Henige boasted of the Central Coast city. “If you have a good idea and you’re solving a problem that is applicable not only in our community but could be implemented throughout the world, people are going to want to help out.”
For that reason, Henige decided to keep his business based here in San Luis Obispo, staying close to the community that helped Restoration Packaging grow into what it is now.
If you’re looking to start a business in the supportive San Luis Obispo community, take a look at our HotHouse Incubator program at https://cie.calpoly.edu/launch/hothouse-incubator/.
To see more on Restoration Packaging and where you can find its products, head to https://www.restorationpackaging.com/.