PIQUA — Effective Wednesday, Francis Office Supply, a staple of the downtown Piqua business community, will merge with Office 360, one of the largest and fastest-growing independently owned office product companies in the country.
But this new development doesn’t mean Francis will change its name, location, quality of service or dedication to its customers, Business Development Manager Joe Feeser said.
“I want to squash all the rumors that we’re closing. We’re not going anywhere. We’ll be in the same building,” Feeser said of the 124 N. Main St. location that will be known as Francis Office Supply Powered by Office 360.
“Even though we’ve merged, it’s actually going to be a lot better for our customers. (Office 360) is a lot larger, so we can offer our customers more resources.” Those resources will include a more thorough website, stronger web presence, and better pricing down the road.
Francis Office Supply’s customer base spans some eight or nine counties, according to Feeser’s business partner, Dean Lyman, who is retiring with the merger, but he and a third partner, Ken Heath, both are staying on as consultants for the next year or so.
“Instead of having the retail part of the store, it will primarily be a furniture display store, but people can still place orders,” Lyman explained, with Feeser adding that orders can be picked up the following day.
Francis Office Supply was established in 1970 by Harold “Spin” Francis. Feeser, Lyman and Heath all joined the Francis team in the ’80s, and in March 2000, they purchased the business from Spin Francis. “We’ve grown the business quite a bit. In less than two years, we grew it almost $2 million,” Feeser said.
Based in Indianapolis, Office 360 was founded a decade ago by brothers Steve, Scott and Lenny Nahmias, but its roots go back to the 1960s, when Atlas Office Supply was founded. The brothers led Atlas to considerable growth and success in the ’80s and ’90s before launching Office 360 in 2008.
Lyman said Office 360 approached Francis Office Supply about five or six years ago with a proposal, “but we weren’t ready to sell” at that time. “Then, as Ken and I both were approaching 65, we thought it might be a good time to do it,” Lyman said. “We’ve been working on the merger since January.
“There were other companies we could have sold to, but we didn’t want to leave the customers hanging. We didn’t want the business to go away.”
In a letter to their customers, Feeser, Lyman and Heath stated, “By working together, we are able to increase our buying power, invest in enhanced technology and reduce our operating costs to strengthen our position as the absolute best provider of everything for your office.”
According to Feeser, Office 360 is one of the top 20 dealers of its kind in the U.S. “But (the Nahmias brothers) are really down-to-earth, good guys. Even though they’re a large company, they act like we do. They still want to be community-oriented,” he said.
“The most important thing to them is the customer, and that’s our philosophy as well.”