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Packer Fastener celebrates 25 years in business

Green-Bay-based company expanding to new facility

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May 17, 2023

GREEN BAY – Terry Albrecht knows a thing or two about nuts and bolts – having started out his working life in a hardware store.

So, it only seems natural that he would eventually start a nuts and bolts manufacturing business.

Albrecht is the CEO of Packer Fastener, a Green-Bay-based threaded fastener and industrial supply distributor, that was founded in 1998.

The company celebrated its 25th anniversary at the beginning of May.

“It’s gone by fast,” Albrecht said. “There have been some long hours in there, but we are incredibly proud of what we’ve done.”

Albrecht said the folks at Packer Fastener like to focus on where the company is going, instead of where it’s been.

“But every so often, we need to pause and reflect when we hit a milestone like this,” he said.

Albrecht said there are three keys to Packer Fastener’s success.

“People, people and people,” he said. “If you’d ask me for two more (factors), I’d say people and people.”

To commemorate 25 years in the nuts and bolts industry, Albrecht said Packer Fastener has a few things planned throughout the year.

“We’ll be sharing (information) about new locations, new products, new members of our team and new opportunities for people to connect with our outstanding company culture,” he said.

Rob Carviou, the director of marketing, said there will also be giveaways.

“We’re printing pull tabs, and people will have a chance to get those from us,” he said. “There will be about 200 prizes we give away – nothing too extravagant. I think our top prize is a nice Packer Fastener cribbage board. For anyone who orders from us, there will be a pull tab packaged in their box.”

Carviou said the company’s branch locations and salespeople will also have some.

“There’s no purchase necessary – people can request a pull tab for a chance to interact with our brand and see our culture,” he said.

The nuts and bolts of how it began
The 48-year-old Albrecht said he grew up in rural Kewaunee County – during a time every small town had a hardware store.

“That was one of my first jobs – working in a hardware store,” he said. “I did that for about four or five years. I had every intention to work in the hardware store the rest of my life, but by that time, it was the mid-90s – Home Depot and Menards came to town, and small-town hardware stores disappeared.”

Albrecht said he has respect for “big box” stores like Home Depot and Menards, which were “small businesses at one point, too.”

// Fastener, which began operations in 1998, celebrated its 25th anniversary May 1. Photo Courtesy of Packer Fastener

“Capitalism and our competitive landscape allow opportunities for others to come in and do it better, which I’m sure somebody will someday,” he said. “I think there will always be value in small businesses – it’s the lifeline of America. I don’t think you’ll ever be able to crush the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans.”

Albrecht, who took some classes at a technical college, said after deciding to move on from the hardware store, he was forced to come up with plan B.

“I attended a job fair at NWTC (Northeast Wisconsin Technical College), and there was a company there called Fastenal,” he said. “They were recruiting salespeople to sell hardware to other businesses. I took the job, but unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy working for a billion-dollar company – I’m a small-town kid.”

Albrecht said that led to a conversation between him and two other Fastenal salesmen he worked with.

“Over a few beers one night, we said, ‘we can do this better,’” he said. “From there, we started Packer Fastener in 1998 (on South Broadway in Green Bay). We make the joke, ‘Three guys walk into a bar and Packer Fastener walks out.’”

Today, Packer Fastener has grown throughout the Midwest and has added two sister companies – Packer Freight and Albolt Manufacturing – to the family.

Packer Freight is a freight brokerage and logistics company, while Albolt is a specialty fasteners manufacturer.

The company, which is currently headquartered at 728 Lombardi Ave. at the intersection of Ashland Avenue on Green Bay’s west side, now employs about 160 team members and operates 10 physical branches throughout the Midwest – serving customers across the country from its national sales department.
With its modest beginnings in 1998 in a 1,600-square-foot building, Albrecht said it’s time to expand operations.

“We’ve purchased a new facility, and we’ll be disclosing that location later this summer,” he said. “We are in three different buildings on this street, and we are busting at the seams at all three of them. We were able to secure 125,000 square feet of space (at the new location), and that will allow us the infrastructure and capacity to continue to scale the business. We will move all our current (Green Bay) operations to the new building.”

Albrecht said the company’s main building on Lombardi Avenue, which Packer Fastener began occupying in 2015, is 22,000 square feet, which he said he never imagined they would fill, but they did.

“After that, we added another 15,000 square feet down the road and filled that up,” he said. Needing more space, we added another 10,000 square feet down the road, but filled that up, too – the new space is needed.”

// Albrecht

Albrecht said there’s a fine line between wanting to grow the company but not losing the small-town, Midwestern values that are a part of Packer Fastener’s culture.

“We’ll most likely open another one or two new branches this year,” he said. “I’d like to continue building our strong presence throughout the Midwest. Our goal is to add two or three branches per year during the next decade.”

Albrecht said another reason Packer Fastener needs to expand is because of what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because we primarily sell to commercial contractors, manufacturers and industrial fabricators, we saw an increase in business during the pandemic,” he said. “Our customer base thrived, so that increased our business. We had some supply chain issues, but because we are a smaller company, we were able to react and pivot quickly, and I think our customers saw that and appreciated that.”
That’s one big nut
Upon moving into its current facility in 2015, Albrecht said the company wanted to come up with a unique idea to help promote the business.

That’s when Albrecht said he incorporated the help of De Pere-based Robinson Metals Inc.

“Robinson Metals made us a 10-foot tall hex nut that weighs about 3.5 tons,” he said. “It’s definitely the biggest nut in the United States.”

The stainless steel nut is hollow inside and mounted on a steel platform, all situated on a concrete pad.

The large nut plays along with Packer Fastener’s slogan: “We’ve got the biggest nuts in town.”

“(The slogan has) taken on a life of its own,” Albrecht laughed. “It goes back to maybe the first year or two in business. We wanted to come up with a T-shirt – our customer base likes free gear – so we wanted to come up with something clever. It’s become our calling card, and we’ve run with it. We are a work hard, play hard company. We take our business seriously, but we also have fun. We’re not scared to differentiate ourselves from others with our marketing techniques.”

For more information on Packer Fastener, visit

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