Solo Cup Company

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A basic 16 ounce Solo cup
The world's largest "paper" cup in front of what was once the Lily-Tulip manufacturing company, later Sweetheart Cup Company[1] which was in turn acquired by Solo. Actually made of poured concrete, the cup stands about 68.1 feet (20.8 m) tall.

Solo Cup Company is an American manufacturer of disposable consumer products including beverage cups, disposable plates and bowls. Solo Cup Company is located in Lake Forest, Illinois, and in 2006 had sales of $2.4 billion. On May 4, 2012, Solo Cup Company was acquired by Dart Container.[2]


Leo Hulseman, a former employee of the Dixie Co. in the 1930s, created the "Solo Cup", a paper cone he made at his home and sold to bottled-water companies. He founded the Solo Cup Company in 1936, and came up with other products like wax-coated cups and the plastic Cozy Cup.

On 1 March 2004, Solo acquired Sweetheart Cup Company for $917.2 million, in part with public debt. Sweetheart was founded by Joseph Shapiro and his four brothers, emigrants from Russia. It became the largest consumer packaging company in the world and was sold several times before being acquired by Solo Cup. Following the acquisition, Solo Cup's finances suffered, and Standard & Poor's lowered their credit rating from B to CCC+.[3] In late 2006, Solo Cup was reported to be $1.1 billion in debt.[4]

Solo Cup Company closed its longstanding facility in Highland Park, Illinois, in December 2009 and relocated to Lake Forest, Illinois.

On May 4, 2012, Solo Cup Company was acquired by Dart Container.[2]



The founder and owner for many years of Solo Cup was Leo Hulseman (1898–1989), whose wife was a singer known by her stage name Dora Hall (whose records were all given away free of charge through Solo promotions).

Leo Hulseman was an active polo player. Hulseman was also the founder and owner of Premore Inc. Premore was a TV production company on the Culver Studios lot for many years in the 1970s and 1980s and later moved to North Hollywood.[5] Premore produced children's TV shows including Tony the Pony (like the later Barney & Friends) and The Clifford Avenue Kids (like Our Gang). Other programs produced at the Premore facilities included Greystone's The Real West and Candid Camera.[citation needed] Premore's television studio stage, remote truck, and post production were used for Hall's shows and rented for TV specials and sports.[6] Premore Inc. was closed in 1993, four years after the death of Leo Hulseman.

Subsequent management[edit]

Robert L. Hulseman, son of the founder Leo Hulseman, became CEO in 1998.

Current CEO Robert M. Korzenski took over from Robert Hulseman in August 2006. Korzenski had worked for Sweetheart Cups for over 10 years.[4]


Solo Cup customers include Starbucks, Dairy Queen, Così, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Einstein Bros. Bagels, and Tim Hortons, as well as many universities.

The red plastic cups are notably used in American college and university games such as beer pong and flip cup.[7][8] This usage is referenced in Toby Keith's song "Red Solo Cup".[9] The red party cup outsells the blue variety by a wide margin.[8]

They are also used by the cannabis growing community as small pots[10] and are also the inspiration and the preferred growing container in alternative online-community cannabis growing competitions where the object of the competition is to flower a cannabis plant according to a set group of rules using 16 oz. Solo cups as the growing container and then the competitors, and in some case sponsors, vote on which entrant's plant they find the most appealing according to each voter's own personal criteria.[11]


  1. ^ Lily-Tulip Cup Corporation, Springfield-Greene County Library, Springfield, Missouri
  2. ^ a b "Dart Container Closes on Acquisition of Solo Cup Company" (PDF) (Press release). Dart Container. May 4, 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Yue, Lorene; Merrion, Paul (October 20, 2006). "S&P cuts Solo Cup's credit rating". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Lambert, Emily (November 17, 2006). "Party's Over". Forbes. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ The Culver Studios, since 1918
  6. ^ DORA'S WORLD: The Unofficial DORA HALL Website
  7. ^ Wilkins, Ernest (October 26, 2011). "Solo cup love affair". RedEye. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Stevenson, Seth (October 10, 2011). "Red Solo Cup: How Solo’s disposable drink vessel became an American party staple.". Slate. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Toby Keith's 'Red Solo Cup' song - stupid or awesome?". USA Today. 16 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  10. ^ |url=[title_only]=1
  11. ^ |url=[title_only]=1&c[node]=124

External links[edit]