(Sept. 26) GILROY, Calif. — Robert Mann Packaging Inc. enters the fall with significantly increased capacity to provide California strawberry and vegetable growers with corrugated containers.

By mid-September, the firm had settled into its new, 150,000-square-foot facility in Salinas. The facility features a new three-color box-making machine that cuts, scores and glues produce boxes at a rate of about 5,000 to 8,000 per hour.

“We can produce an extra 40-50 truckloads per week,” said Harold Mann, son of founder Robert Mann and general manager of the company.

The site includes a 3½-acre carton yard and allows Mann Packaging to operate a blend of carton storage, distribution and manufacturing from one location.

The firm moved into the Salinas location when it outgrew other locations and needed a site with easy access to the highway, Mann said. By Oct. 1, the company also planned to relocate an additional waxer from its headquarters to the Salinas facility.

“We looked at Castroville, Hollister and elsewhere, but we feel fortunate to have landed here,” Harold Mann said. “We can service everybody. We’re well-located. We’re trying to make this a one-stop shop.”

But the Salinas move wasn’t the only facility upgrade Mann Packaging made this year.

In July, it moved into a 35,000-square-foot building in Oceanside, Calif. TrendPak Inc., a Mann Packaging subsidiary, will merge into the Oceanside facility. TrendPak manufactures paper products and flexible packaging and is based in Oceanside.

Mann Packaging is constructing a new, 32,000-square-foot facility in Oxnard, Calif., geared toward producing boxes for strawberries and other produce. That facility, at Rose and Wooley, is within a mile of many of Oxnard’s produce packinghouses. Mann said he expects that facility to be completed by June, just in time for the Oxnard strawberry season.

This comes as the company boosts its strawberry packaging business.

Steve Carroll, general manager of the Salinas facility, said it was important to tie the California strawberry distribution centers together and to make it easy for grower-shippers to get the boxes they need.

“This is driven by marketing,” Carroll said. “We want to make it easier for our customers to do business with us and to get their business done.”

Along those lines, Mann Packaging planned to move into a new, larger facility in Watsonville, Calif., in early October. The new site includes a 20,000-square-foot building and an acre of outside storage.