As far as possible business booms and plant expansions go, a Utah County packaging business is finding its future is in the bag.

Longview Fibre, 2200 N. Main, is evolving with a combination of operation changes and a broadened packaging mix, according to public affairs director Curt Copenhagen."New merchandise and grocery- bag manufacturing capabilities will be added, and the size range for containers will be expanded from 4 inches to more than 4 feet," Copenhagen said in a telephone interview from company headquarters in Longview, Wash.

The company's plants in Spanish Fork and Waltham, Mass., will produce grocery bags. The Utah plant will effectively take over the operations from the Longview, Wash., plant.

The bag-production project will involve construction and a phased moving of bag machines from Washington to Spanish Fork, all of which will take nearly one year, he said.

An approximately $1.5 million warehouse addition will add nearly 100,000 square feet of storage space for finished product and paper rollstock. The contractor is Hansen-Rice of Nampa, Idaho, which built the Spanish Fork plant.

The storage space will further free a plant area now used for warehousing for the bag-production equipment.

The new warehouse could be done as early as this spring. Then current warehouse space will be vacated and bag-manufacturing machines will be installed.

Also, the expansion will require the hiring of 30 more employees, though they will not be hired until bag-production operations begin, he said.

According to Copenhagen, moving bag-production operations to Spanish Fork will give Longview Fibre a better position in a number of markets, including California and Texas, as well as the Rocky Mountain, Southwest and Central regions.

A jumbo box production line was installed in January that allows the plant to make boxes larger than 4 square feet. Those boxes are used to package exercise machines, furniture and other items.

The line is one of only a few in the West. Other box-making improvements will involve extensive corrugator upgrades, including a new cutoff knife. Further quality enhancement and an overall container production increase is anticipated with the various changes, according to Spanish Fork plant manager Stan Curtis.

"This is an excellent opportunity to further develop a very versatile packaging manufacturing center here in Utah," Curtis said. "We look forward to producing merchandise, grocery and specialty bags in a wide array of colors, in addition to making our full line of corrugated containers that service industrial, agricultural and meatpacking customers."