In the winter of 1965,when Patricia and Ralph Maiberger decided to leave the cold of the Midwest for a new home in Southern California, they initiated the beginning of a business history that has continually developed during 55 years in warmer climate.
Upon their arrival with five children, the venturesome parents started a paper products company, selling items by the sleeve — a sales colloquialism that means from an open box. Their first products were brown paper bags of various sizes for small businesses. Using the experience of his previous work in Ohio making contacts and identifying customer needs, President Ralph Maiberger’s business and reputation quickly grew.
P & R (Patricia & Ralph) Paper Co.’s ability to locate suppliers for the paper needs of new and growing businesses helped stimulate the economic growth of the Inland Empire. Their expanding market sites required transportation and so their first delivery truck was a 1965 Volkswagen bus. Today’s market deliveries require the employment of 80 truck drivers who deliver throughout California to drop-off sites in Oregon and twice weekly to customers in Arizona.
The slogan, “We’ve been green since 1965,” is painted on the rear of all their trucks. The company headquarters is in Redlands, with distributing sites in San Diego, the Bay Area, Las Vegas, Seattle and their newest in Stockton, California. Lindsey Ineichen, branch operation manager, said all their employees consider P & R Paper to be a family business dedicated to supporting family businesses wherever possible. She said it is customer centric, always about the customers and quoted one of the family leaders describing their company as an endless aisle of products.
When founder Ralph Maiberger retired, his three sons inherited the company. One, Joe, is president. With 300 employees and 7,500 different products to distribute, the company sales teams offer their experience as a consulting source and a product resource to present and future customers. During the early years of business, P & R Paper provided paper products to local high schools. They now do so for hundreds of school districts throughout California, gaining their business via referrals. Sprouts Markets orders bags, packaging for deli products, glove and cleaning supplies for all their stores in California. Concession centers at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center use trays and paper wraps delivered by P & R. Martha Greene’s and El Burrito, both in Redlands, have been regular customers for more than 25 years. The growing company remains a ‘family’ business. Two Maiberger granddaughters fill management positions, one as director of internal sales and the other as branch operations manager, serving with their father, the president, in the traditions and philosophy of the founders.
A customer service representative has been employed for 26 years. Two sales reps, two purchasing agents and three drivers have all been with the company for more than 20 years and the majority of the management team has worked for over ten years. P & R employees affectionately cite their employment: We are a business run by family.
The company supports Redlands High School baseball team, contributes annually to Redlands Bowl, the Redlands Symphony and the Redlands Unified School District.