Cleaning up: Clearfield company closes in on centennial | News, Sports, Jobs

While Clearfield Wholesale Paper prepares to celebrate 100 years in business in 2022, the company continues to grow.

“We have doubled our size in the past 15 years. Our revenue doubled between 2006 and 2020, and the number of employees grew from 17 to 25,” said President Joel Peterson, who owns the business with his wife, Cindy.

Recently, the coronavirus has led to an increase in business as the company saw a spike in sales of items such as disinfectants and disposable takeout containers.

“Disinfectants, they were our No. 1 product over the past year,” said Thomas Marasco, a company sales representative. The company took 24 tractor-trailer loads of takeout containers to correctional institutions alone, Peterson said.

Acquisitions have also helped the company grow. CWP purchased Clark and Anderson in Bradford in 2012 and The Stevens Co. in Altoona in 2016.

The Bradford acquisition enabled CWP to grow northward while the Stevens acquisition enabled the company to better serve the Altoona area, as well as increase business in Huntingdon, Bedford and Cambria counties.

“We say our footprint is from Bradford to Bedford and Blairsville to Bellefonte,” Peterson said.

A recently formed affiliation with Essendant, formerly known as United Stationers, a national wholesale distributor of office supplies, has enabled CWP to increase its product line.

“We have 4,000 different products in our Clearfield warehouse and an additional 40,000 products in our Ohio warehouse due to the affiliation,” Marasco said.

The business, first known as Clearfield Wholesale Paper and Notions, was founded by Peterson’s great-grandfather Andrew J. Peterson in June 1922 in the small village of Grassflat, then moved to Clearfield in the early 1930s.

“They sold things like bobby pins and shoe nails. … They sold to the grocery stores and meat markets, things like butcher and freezer paper and similar products,” Peterson said. “Notions” was dropped from the name and the focus of the business changed in the mid-1960s.

“Our focus changed to serving industrial, commercial and institutional accounts. We went into schools, hospitals, health care facilities, manufacturing and many county government authorities,” Peterson said.

CWP provides clients throughout central and western Pennsylvania with thousands of sanitary, maintenance, janitorial, floor care, equipment, safety, food service disposables, ice melter and packaging products as product categories include can liners, carpet care, cleaning chemicals, cleaning equipment, floor care equipment, floor care products, floor matting, food service, personal hygiene, receptacles/trash, restroom supplies and safety supplies.

“Our recent expansion has added office supplies, office furniture and breakroom supplies, warewash and laundry supplies,” said Peterson.

“CWP sells a lot of ice melter. Rock salt is our No. 1 selling product. We partner with Georgia Pacific and their lines of toilet tissue, facial tissue, paper towels and dispensers. We also specialize in commercial floor equipment sales and service, often to schools for their large areas such as hallways, auditoriums and gymnasiums. We sell to many larger facilities such as distribution centers and work with them to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees.”

Today CWP is a larger regional business and provides products for about 65 area school districts.

Peterson, who has been with the business for nearly 40 years and owner since 2000, said the key to success has been loyal customers and employees.

“We have been blessed with the ability to solve customer’s facility needs. The big thing is listening to what their needs are. We are really proud of the company, from where it started and where it is today,” Peterson said.

He expects the company to continue to expand, especially with a new online catalog and web-based ordering platform,, warehouse automation and fully staffed equipment service center.

Another key component is CWP’s health and safety training department, which aids its customers and its employees.

“CWP will continue to grow. We have an exceptional veteran staff and are hiring younger staff. We have team members who have worked for us over 45 years. We have a good future and expect to continue with acquisitions and new affiliations. The number of employees will increase as will customers who are looking for the services we provide,” Peterson said.

Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox