Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The rest of the story

It was 1995 and everything was going just peachy working for a gentleman who lived in Nashville, NC and had started his business out of his home. I will back up for a second and state that I personally started with Office Machine Service and Sales back in 1980. At that time the main emphasis in the office machine industry was typewriters.
I can still remember unloading trailer loads of typewriters to be unboxed, set up and delivered to some school typing room. At the time we were the only company in our area that even tried to service typewriters and had many counties with many schools to maintain.
The first year I started with the company it was time for schools to be out for the summer and I would go with a team in a van loaded with an air compressor, solvents and rags to clean each machine and repair anything wrong with it to prepare for another year of service. I didn't even really see the company's shop until the summer cleaning was completed. We used a product called Fedron to clean platen rollers which is the black roller that the paper rolled around. In later years we heard about how dangerous that stuff was and wonder if we have any internal problem due to using that stuff without gloves.
As the years passed by copiers became popular and we stated selling and servicing copiers and building up quite a clientele that covered most of eastern North Carolina. That brings us to 1995 when the owner was approached by a large company wanting to purchase our small company.
After negotiations a deal was made and we were no longer employed by a small family. They were also buying other business and consolodating into one larger business. It was at that time that two of the technicians did not want to stay and be a part of this large firm so they opted to leave. I stayed. I was service manager and since this huge firm had it's own service manager I was demoted to glorified delivery man. It had it's good days and bad days depending on the location I had to deliver and the weather.
While I was being bored delivering machines the other two guys had decided to start their own business with no capital, no parts manuals, just enthusiasm to make it work. They got a contract with a local school system that allowed them to get their first year rolling. Little by little they grew in the company it is today covering most of eastern North Carolina like the original company did.
In 1999 they finally decided everything could be delivered out of the Raleigh location so that ended my job but at least they gave me a 6 month severance package for my 20 years of service.
After leaving I had fun selling log homes for a few years and then had a job doing grocery store sets which put me in a different town each day and had friday and the weekend off which was nice. The miles started to get to me so in 2005 I approached my old friend who was one of my technicians back in the old days. He wanted me to come on board and be service manager for his 5 technicians so it was like a reunion. So that's how Quality Office Equipment Co., Inc. came into existence. There are 12 people employed here including the boss & his wife. It is great place to come to every day. I am blessed to be able to say that.


  1. How lovely that you actually enjoy going in every day, Odie. I suspect that part of that is the man that you are as well. Hope you're having a good week.

  2. One of my "good ol' job" was a very small uniform business. There were 2 owners 1 seamstress and me the bookkeeper/office girl. They were very good to me but their constant bickering drove me crazy because they'd come to me and get me involved. Finally, I had enough. But I always liked the small businesses for that family feel.

  3. I like small outfits - often you get better service and the folk are more will to go the extra bit.
    Lou and i were out today - we decided to go for lunch and bypassed costs, starbucks and o'briens to go to a place called Kimbles. It's a cafe/sweet shp here in Glasgow. They have grown over the years from being a small outlet for sweets and chocolate to now a larger place with a cafe offering sandwiches, soups, cake, tea, coffee, hot choc and so on. They still sell the chocolates and sweets and are now evolving into a deli type place. It's owned and run by a man and wife and their son is on board. They appreciate the custom, remember regulars and is a little oasis of calm in a busy world.
    Oh - and we had ham and cheese panninis today, hot chocolare (lou's was a posh one) and she had a chocolate cake as well. Yummmm!

  4. Just goes to prove the old wisdom that you should never burn your bridges :-)

  5. This was my dad's line of work, Odie. He was a salesman and service technician for office supply and office machine servicing companies. Clients liked and trusted my dad because he gave exceptionally good service. I remember many family dinners that were interrupted by phone calls from companies having problems with mimeographs or spirit duplicators. My dad always dropped what he was doing day or night and drove off to render assitance on his own time. I was always proud of my father for being a model of excellence in his chosen field.

  6. Sounds like you have a wonderful place to work...definitely worth the commute every day!! Hope your week is going well..

  7. That's a cool story, glad you were able to go back to the job with the people you've worked with before!

  8. Pooldad works for the same sized/type company and he couldn't be happier.

    Sometimes it is nice not to be "corporate".

    Love the story Odie. You sure can tell 'em nice.