Episode 157: Stephanie Paxton-Jackson
There’s a product that you’ve interacted with countless times, that’s probably in your home right now, and plays a very important role in food safety throughout the entire food supply chain, reducing food waste, our carbon footprint, ending human trafficking and so much more!
What product are we talking about? Kwik Lok, the global leader in bag closures (y’know, the plastic ones that keep your bags of potatoes, apples, lemons, and onions sealed).
Kwik Lok was started by co-owner Stephanie Paxton-Johnson’s grandfather Floyd Paxton when he invented this type of closure in the 1950s. What gave him the idea? Floyd was working in the apple industry in Washington state and there wasn’t a way to close apples in their bags to be shipped. Stephanie’s father took over from Floyd and was the president for over 51 years, taking the company from a small business in Yakima, Washington to a global company located in over 100 countries, with six plants and over 300 employees!
Sadly, in 2015, Stephanie’s father passed away, but her and her sisters took over, making them the third generation to run this family business.
A simple, common closure you probably rarely think about is making a huge, global impact. Stephanie and her sisters are committed to making the world a better place and at the core of their business is reliability and safety. First off, the Kwik Lok helps reduce food waste. How? When you are closing your produce bag safe and securely with a Kwik Lok, you’re lessening your food waste which inturn helps lessen the negative climate impact we see from food waste.
During the height of COVID-19, Kwik Lok was able to help with restaurants that were forced to shut down and repackage their excess produce and give it to those in need. One great example of this was Kwik Lok’s ability to assist Northwest Harvest who collects and distributes 50 pound bulk bags of potatoes, onions and apples. Kwik Lok offered two of their machines to break those bags down into a household size (around 2-5 pounds) to get it to those in need. Otherwise, all of that produce would have gone to waste!
Did you know that less than one percent of third-generation owned businesses survive?
And yet Stephanie Paxton-Johnson and her sisters are growing a global company that’s determined to be a part of the solution in reducing our carbon footprint. They debuted their Eco-Lok two years ago which is made with a starch resin that’s predominantly made from corn and potatoes. This allowed them to use 20% less plastic in each closure, which is lessening the carbon footprint and manufacturing impact. How do you know if your bag of produce has a regular Kwik Lok or Eco-Lok on it? That’s a decision left up to each individual company. One of their greatest companies, Franz Bakery, uses the ecolock and has the name written on the product, along with Dave’s Killer Bread.
“We’re really excited because we’re just about to sign and certify that all of our products are 100% free from human trafficking.” – Stephanie Paxton-Jackson (15:57-16:07)
Stephanie and her sisters pride themselves on being committed to always being intentional with their company’s decisions and to always be innovating in a way that’s good for our planet. Stephanie considers their philanthropic initiatives to be very strategic in helping the values they have. By being able to certify Kwik Lok’s products are 100% free from human trafficking, they’re asking their suppliers to commit to the same values and are making a strong stance as to what’s required when working together. They also recently signed for responsible labor practices.
What’s next for Kwik Lok? They will be debuting some up-and-coming innovations at future trade shows and Stephanie’s middle sister just took over as chairman of the board! Make sure to look for the Eco-Lok label on all bagged produce items you purchase, and remember the women behind those tiny closures making a huge impact.
How to get involved
- Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week!
- Reach out to us – we’d love to hear more about where you are in life and business! Find out more here.
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Previous episodes you may enjoy
- Episode 156: Jacob Dudley and Rani Zimand, Co-Leaders of the Farmlink Project
- Episode 155: Dr. Lori Myers, Senior Director of American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and Dr. Jan Bowers, Executive Director at the Family and Consumer Sciences Education Association
- Episode 154: Dr. Susan Hewlings, Professor At Central Michigan University And Director of Scientific Affairs Nutrasource
- Episode 153: Colt Reichart, Fourth Generation Owner At Red Gold
- Episode 152: Da Rulk, Founder Of The RFT Method and Kore Nutrition