Sistema doubles size in Petaluma

PETALUMA -- The North American distributor for a growing international brand of colorful plastic food-storage containers is making another big expansion of its Petaluma distribution hub.

[caption id="attachment_78424" align="alignleft" width="288"] Sistema Plastics products have been riding trends of BPA-free food containers, tight-sealing lids, homemade smoothies and, recently, to-go containers for pizza slices.[/caption]

An affiliate of Sistema US (707-795-9060,, distributor for New Zealand-based Sistema Plastics, purchased the recently vacated 94,000-square-foot Pomegranate Communications warehouse and office at 775 Southpoint Blvd. on Aug. 9 for nearly $8 million, or about $84 a square foot.

Sistema US plans to relocate to the new building by October.

"We've reached full capacity at the current building," said Simon Kirby, co-owner of Sistema US with Peter Carter. "Had we not purchased the building, it would have impacted our growth."

Sales for Sistema Plastics have grown 400 percent in the past six years and are set to double again in the next three, according to the company. Sales in 2011 were NZ$65 million (roughly $50 million at the time), with NZ$50 million (about $37 million) of that from exports.

Coming off the 2005 sale of Novato-based VacuVan, which removed air from wine containers, Mr. Kirby and Mr. Carter started Sistema US in Novato in 2008. Appealing were the trends of spending-conscious consumers packing lunches to work and greater consciousness about plastics compounds such as BPA. The distributorship moved to 1445 N. McDowell Blvd. in Petaluma in 2009 with the purchase of the 42,000-square-foot former Cisco Systems building.

Sales have been doubling annually since 2008, according to Mr. Kirby. The new facility will be able to accommodate imports of 20 million to 30 million units from the Auckland, New Zealand, manufacturing plant to markets on the continent, but some retail accounts receive direct shipments.

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