Pioneering Packaging Excellence In Lake County, Illinois

At Lake County Partners’ upcoming Big Event, 500+ business and community leaders will gather to honor the year’s Community Investment Award winner: Josh Fischer and his team at Fischer Paper Products.

In Lake County’s bustling world of business, Fischer Paper Products stands out not only for its long-term success story, having spent 50+ years evolving to meet the packaging needs of its clients from its home base in Antioch, but also for its commitment to innovation, sustainability, and community impact.

Fischer Paper Products is a third-generation, family-owned company known for its high-quality, food-safe paper packaging products, predominantly used in the food service industry by well-known chains like Culver’s, In-N-Out, Kwik Trip, Circle K, Sysco, US Foods and others. Each year, the company manufactures over 2 billion bags, including its iconic Cris P. Tater French fry bag commonly found in restaurants across the Midwest.

From its headquarters in Antioch, Fischer Paper Products employs more than 140, including 60+ skilled workers responsible for operating its 22 paper packaging machines. The company moved into the 175,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility in 2020 to accommodate seven additional production lines, creating 50 new jobs and space for future growth as well. The project represented a major long-term investment and commitment to the Lake County community.

“Fischer Paper Products is an exemplary corporate partner,” said Antioch Mayor Scott J. Gartner. “The company’s commitment isn’t merely financial. Their team puts the time and energy into developing highly-skilled employees and providing them with rewarding careers. They give back in meaningful ways outside of their offices too. We were grateful for their financial support of the Treehouse Community Playground, which will open in the village this summer and promote inclusive play for local children.”

At the heart of Fischer Paper Products’ success is its team. Fischer’s leadership relies on Lake County’s strong talent pipeline to create and execute new ideas and stay ahead of industry trends. The company takes pride in its number of long-term employees, some of whom have been with the business for over 35 years.

In the broader community, President and Owner Josh Fischer has sat on the Lake County Workforce Development Board for the past 4 years, and Laura Walker, the company’s Human Resources Manager, is a founding member of the Industrial Technology Advisory Committee, which was established in 2020.

“Fischer Paper Products stands out as one of Lake County’s most committed small businesses,” notes Jennifer Serino, the Executive Director at Lake County Workforce Development. “Josh is a thought leader, collaborating with the Workforce Development Board to lead performance-driven strategies that develop, align and integrate Lake County’s workforce to meet the needs of business today and in the future.”

Fischer Paper Products was also an inaugural member of the College of Lake County (CLC) Manufacturing Alliance Advisory Board, a workforce and economic development initiative to promote a strong, employer-led stakeholder group to enhance Lake County’s talent pipeline, leverage collective resources to address industry challenges, and support local and regional manufacturing sector growth.

“Lake County’s manufacturing community is strong and tight-knit,” observes Josh Fischer. “As business owners, we have countless resources at our fingertips, but we have to work together to capitalize on them and forge even greater opportunities. When the College of Lake County embarked on the build out of its cutting-edge Advanced Technology Center (ATC), we knew we had to get involved to help shape students’ manufacturing skills and ignite their passion for manufacturing.”

According to John Butler, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the College of Lake County, “Fischer is one of CLC’s most holistic corporate partners. Fischer has been generous with its philanthropy, naming the instructional learning lab at the Advanced Technology Center to promote a pipeline of skilled workers and creating the Fischer Paper Products Scholarship, which supports students pursuing an education in CLC’s manufacturing-related career technical programs who have demonstrated financial need.”

Elsewhere in the community, Fischer Paper Products uses donations and drives to support the Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Versiti Blood Center of Illinois, Antioch’s Traveling Closet, Open Arms Mission Food Pantry, the Condell Centre Club and more. It sponsors local events, sports teams and initiatives in many Lake County communities including Antioch, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst.

“There are countless examples why Fischer Paper Products deserves accolades, making the company an easy choice for this year’s Community Investment Award,” said Kevin Considine, Lake County Partners’ president and CEO. “Fischer Paper Products is a model of what it means to give back to the community, and it will be an honor to recognize their team at the Big Event.”