Local Print and Office Supply Shop Focuses on Growth Areas
Including home office furniture, promotional apparel, marketing brochures
I recently reached out to a print and office supply shop in my area to see how business has been going the last eight months or so (given the pandemic). Unsurprisingly, business has been challenged by the reduction in spending occurring in many organizations because of office closures and the resulting revenue loss for the printer.
At the same time, there are areas of opportunity. This post, and the accompanying podcast, will highlight a few of those opportunities—as noted by Dave Constas, co-founder and owner of Just the Right Stuff in Syracuse, New York.
|Sample of Just the Right Stuff’s print, promotional products,
and furniture offerings
The Home Office
Just the Right Stuff has sold office furniture for several years now, having merged with a local furniture company (Hurbson Office Furnishings). While it is still fulfilling orders for commercial spaces, it’s seeing new opportunities in the area of home offices. People are interested in things like sit/stand tables, ergonomic chairs to alleviate back issues, and office furniture that looks like it belongs in a home.
“It’s much nicer quality than you are going to walk into Staples and purchase,” Constas said. “Very competitively, we can provide those products as well as we have a local installation team that can help set it up, instead of you putting it in the back of your car and bringing it home and trying to put it together. So we’re starting to focus a little there.”
Prior to the pandemic, there was a tendency for workplaces to lower cubicle panels for better collaboration with colleagues. The pandemic has reversed this trend to some extent, Constas said, with certain employers looking to raise barriers that are currently only 48 inches high or so.
“Now that doesn’t necessarily bode well for bringing your employees back and sneezing on your neighbor,” Constas said of the low panels.
Traditionally, Just the Right Stuff relied on face-to-face interactions and word of mouth to get its name out. Now, with people working from home and socially distancing themselves, it is taking alternate routes to marketing. For instance, it is conducting a small advertising campaign on the local newspaper’s website. It’s also starting to use Zoom for sales calls and has a Facebook page.
“We’re just looking at how we’re going to move forward and generate new sales,” he said.
Apparel Side of Promotional Products/Online Stores
Constas said one of the biggest growth areas for the company is the apparel side of promotional products (e.g., jackets or shirts with company logos). Just the Right Stuff does a lot of business with schools as well as hospitals, and makes ordering easier through the creation of online stores on its website.
Just the Right Stuff puts the store up, the client sends its employees there, the employees put in their order (including their desired product, size, and color), and Just the Right Stuff fulfills the order and sends it back to the company with everyone’s name on the appropriate product—taking the burden off the client to provide all the necessary information.
“One of the hospitals that we do a lot with, they put a t-shirt out with their name on it and ‘strong’ and as soon as the email went out to the employees, we had orders trickling in at 10, 15, 20 an hour—it turned out to be a huge campaign,” Constas said.
Marketing Side of Print and Labels
While the overall print business has plateaued—driven by the digitization of financial statements, invoices, business forms, and medical records—the promotional side of print (e.g., marketing brochures) is still a growth area, Constas said. Labels are also an area of persistent print.
“Labels are still a necessity in the hospital because everything gets a label,” Constas said. “Your IV, your wristband when you check in…so pressure-sensitive labels, that’s kind of the printing side of our business.”
While opportunities for commercial print, apparel, and furniture do exist, providers like Just the Right Stuff are also focused on getting through the upcoming months. COVID-19 cases are starting to rise in many parts of the United States (as well as world) and this may mean renewed restrictions on businesses.
“Our hopes naturally are that this little uptick and trend we see happening [in Just the Right Stuff’s business] now is going to continue, and we’re a little nervous about the increase in cases lately and now there’s some discussion they may start to do some pullbacks,” Constas said. “Hopefully, it’s more in the social, restaurants, and bars and that type of thing and not necessarily in the businesses per se.”
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