Office machine store responds to changing times
Raymond’s Office Machines and Supplies Inc., owned by Darwin Raymond, began as a printing shop started by Raymond’s grandfather about 48 years ago. Eventually Raymond’s father took over the shop.
“My father started carrying typewriters [and adding machines] because there was a demand for [them],” Raymond remembers. His father continued running the printing business as well.
Raymond spent his childhood years learning about machine repair in the shop. “When I was twelve I started working on the equipment, cleaning and repairing.”
Eventually Raymond purchased the machine sales and service portion of the business after the printing business was sold. He named it Raymond’s Office Machines and Supplies Inc., and it continues today to be one of Glenwood Springs’ most established businesses.
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 last year, Raymond saw a gradual decline in business. He also noticed that his clientele was changing. Technological needs were also changing along with the kinds of office equipment people were asking for.
Raymond turned to Colorado Mountain College’s Small Business Development Center for ideas on how his business could adjust and flourish in the face of changing times. He made an appointment with Joe Livingston. “I went to him to see what he could do,” he says. “He helped us to analyze business trends and how to act accordingly.”
Livingston worked with Raymond to determine what the business’ strengths were at that particular time, and the best way to capitalize on those strengths. Livingston emphasized marketing and promoting areas “where we actually make our money,” says Raymond. Attention to the weak areas could be worked on, if needed, at a later time.
Livingston strongly advised that Raymond define a “niche” for the business and then promote it. “Finding a niche and going with their strengths is what I always preach, and it seems to work,” says Livingston. He helped Raymond develop advertising techniques that would target this niche.
Raymond says that Livingston was also instrumental in coming up with ideas for securing qualified leads for potential customers. Livingston stressed that putting time into marketing is essential to the long-term success of any business.
Raymond continues to apply business skills he has gained from many years of experience. He is well aware of the importance of knowing who his customers are and what they want. He credits part of his business success and longevity to the fact that he is present at his own store. “People like to see the owner and talk to the owner,” he says.
Along with several other employees, Raymond works at his own store answering the phone, making service calls, waiting on customers, developing sales and marketing plans, and doing record keeping.
Since Raymond’s grandfather started the business almost five decades ago it has expanded beyond the boundaries of typewriters and adding machines. Raymond’s grandfather would be amazed to walk in and see that his grandson’s store now offers multifunction systems with copier/fax/scanner/printer, point-of-sale cash registers, time attendance clocks, various kinds of copy machines, shredders, calculators and several styles of printers.
Service and repair of these machines comprise a large portion of Raymond’s business. Many machines are available for lease or rental. Since technology grows at a steady pace in the world of office machines, Raymond and his staff take training classes offered on a regular basis by the various manufacturers the store represents.
Raymond’s Office Machines and Supplies is one example of a reputable long-standing locally owned business that has taken steps to keep pace with contemporary standards. As its logo states: “Locally owned and evolving with the industry for over 48 years.”
For more information on the services available at CMC’s SBDC, call 800-621-1647 or 970-928-0120.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.