Customer Story:
ROXBOX Shipping Containers

Transforming shipping containers into custom kitchens and restaurants

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

ROXBOX is a Denver-based maker of custom building solutions made from repurposed shipping containers – and Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard is the company’s go-to solution for its interior walls, particularly for projects destined to become kitchens and restaurants. 

The Beginning

Houston, we have a problem. 

Anthony Halsch may not have said those words back in 2017, but he was sure thinking them. When Hurricane Harvey rolled through the Houston area late that summer, it forced the closure of the city’s port. With it went Halsch’s two-year-old business importing shipping containers and trucking them from the port to the Denver, Colorado, area for resale. 

“We just did not have the cash to weather the storm,” Halsch explained in a recent chat. 

What he did have, however, was a rock-solid Plan B. Halsch had begun work upscaling and repurposing containers for other uses – small-scale restaurants and pop-up bars and the like. He quickly folded all the resources from his ailing shipping container sales business into the new and, ta da, we have ROXBOX, a thriving Denver-based maker of custom shipping container solutions. 

A Solution for Shipping Container Walls

ROXBOX is big on quality and what Halsch, the company’s founder and CEO, likes to call “value engineering” – products that do the job, are durable, and look great, but are simultaneously within financial reach of customers. 

“At the end of the day, our main focus is to make sure that a container is very functional, as well as cost effective,” says Halsch. 

Those goals led Halsch on a quest to find a replacement for FRP – fibreglass reinforced panels – as the liner on the company’s shipping container walls, particularly for those that were destined to become restaurants, kitchens, or those with a hospitality and bar use-case, which collectively is a large slice of the ROXBOX customer base. 

“I hate FRP,” Halsch says flatly. “It’s a nasty product to cut and utilize. 

“We try to employ as many lean tactics as we possibly can in our manufacturing and installing plywood, and then gluing it, and putting FRP on it, that’s not very lean to me. And I don’t like FRP from an aesthetic point of view.” 

A bit of research about a year ago turned up Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard. ROXBOX quickly adopted it as an FRP replacement. There was no going back. 

“We love Trusscore,” Halsch says. “Wall&CeilingBoard a phenomenal product and I’m very glad we found it. It’s exactly what we were looking for.” 

Durable & Waterproof Wall Panels

Restaurants and kitchens, Halsch says, need interiors that are low maintenance. Trusscore – durable, chemical resistant and waterproof, cleans up with a simple wipe. In short, it ticks the boxes that restaurants and kitchens need ticked in a shipping container interior wall panel. 

“Clean, washable surfaces, right? That’s the big deal for kitchen supply or for kitchen health codes.” 

Keeping cost in line another prime consideration that moved Halsch and his 14-person team to make the switch to Trusscore. 

“FRP and products like it work as a clean, washable surface, but the timeframe and materials that are needed in order to utilize it are ridiculous,” Halsch says. 

“It’s like a two- or three-times [savings] differential using Trusscore versus FRP with labor and materials added together.” 

The Growing Demand for Shipping Containers

Demand for ROXBOX containers has soared since the pandemic impact took hold last March. Halsch says kitchens and restaurants are scaling back, and with lockdowns in place, there’s far less need for large seating footprints, making a container the ideal and cost-effective way for a restaurant to stay in business. 

There has also been, he says, a simultaneous maturing of the marketplace. Containers as infrastructure and shipping container modifications, have moved from the fringe to the mainstream in the minds of the general public. 

“With good paint and good sealants and things like that, these containers will last 50 to 75 years, at least,” says Halsch. 

“[And] the barriers to entry are much lower than a full-size restaurant. People are understanding the value of this type of building material. 

“So that’s where we have a very unique position: we make a quality, low cost, long-lasting product.” 

Quality and value are also part of the Trusscore playbook, which made it a natural fit at ROXBOX. 

“You know, we're not going to utilize products that are expensive just because they have a name brand on them,” says Halsch. “We do our research and make sure that a product is going to fit within our realm of being cost effective yet very durable and long lasting. 

“That was a huge component of Trusscore. It was kind of a no-brainer for us to utilize it.” 

Trusscore products have been used in other shipping container projects. Project 4000 – a low-cost, high-tech greenhouse used for seedlings and microgreens in two 40-foot shipping containers that are part of an urban community garden in Kitchener, Ontario – is an example. 

Much like at ROXBOX, the bright, clean finish of Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard, as well as its utility and ease of installation, contributed to the decision to go with it rather than other products. 

“I think we've used Trusscore on six different jobs at this point, and our guys are getting significantly faster with it every single time they use it,” says Halsch. 

“At the end of the day it looks super clean, and it's a little bit more unique, you know? 

“I feel like it adds another element to our level of quality. We’ve just had a great experience with it.” 

Houston, message from ROXBOX: Problem solved.