Buy Recycled Office Supplies and Make a Difference!

It’s great to see more businesses recycling in their office, and also reusing the materials being recycled by purchasing recycled office supplies. In fact, the office products you use can make a real difference to our environment by reducing waste, carbon emissions, and being gentler to our earth.

First let’s talk about recycling in your office. If you are not already recycling at your company, start today. Most employees want to participate because they already recycle at home, it’s simple to do, and it keeps paper, plastics and glass out of our already overcrowded landfills.

Start by putting recycled bins around the office and even by employee desks. Recycling collection cans like the Rubbermaid RCP295673BE sell for under $8.00, and feature the recycled seal so it’s clear only recycled materials go here. For larger collection needs in break rooms or copy rooms, try Rubbermaid’s 20 gallon Brute recycling containers – item RCP262073BLU – for under $35. Or, simply reuse old cardboard boxes for collecting recycled goods, and tape the recycled triangle seal on the front.

Once your business is recycling, it’s time to start buying recycled products. Many people are surprised to learn there is a glut of some recycled materials today because many people recycle at their home or office, but they are not completing the “recycling triangle” by purchasing items made from recycled material. You will make the greatest impact by switching to recycled copy paper, which is the largest volume paper item used in offices. While it costs a little more than virgin paper, it has the most impact and the savings for our environment offsets the price difference.

Zuma recommends Boise Aspen 100% Recycled Paper to go green.

Zuma recommends Boise Aspen 100% Recycled Paper to go green.

Zuma suggests Navigator premium recycled paper as our best value/quality recycled paper – item SNANR1120. It’s made with a “Super White” formula so it’s high brightness paper, and it contains 30% post consumer waste paper. Or, if you’d like to really go green, consider using Boise Aspen 100% – item CAS054922 – which is made from 100% recycled fibers.

Binders and file folders are another high use office supply item, and Zuma features view binders, classification folders and hanging file folders which are all made from recycled material. These are available in national brands like Avery, Smead and Universal, and the nice thing with buying our store brand Universal is you can buy recycled content products and actually pay less!

Now review your Break Room and Janitorial Supplies and identify paper items that can easily be switched to recycled products. We all know most companies don’t buy the softest premium paper towels and tissues for the office, so switching to recycled will barely be noticed. Marcal and Seventh Generation brands offer many products in this area, and Boardwalk has some lower cost recycled content alternatives.

Bottle-2-Pen is made from recycled plastic water bottles!

Bottle-2-Pen is made from recycled plastic water bottles!

As a quick guide, these are the product categories that are easy to switch to recycled content products:
Printer paper, envelopes, Post-It Notes, file folders, binders, writing pads, paper towels, toilet tissue, napkins, paper cups. There are also many items using recycled plastic like Pilot B2P pens made with recycled water bottles, and the Bic Ecolution line of pencils, pens and correction tape.

The good news is more people are buying recycled products than ever before, which is good for our planet and good for future generations. Let’s all do good work together by actively protecting our environment, first by recycling in the workplace, and second by buying recycled office and janitorial supplies that are used in bulk in your office. We are here to help with cross references and product suggestions to enable you go green at your business today!

By:  Stephan R Vonn

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Win a FREE Keurig® K-Cup Brewing System from Zuma

Refer a New Customer to Zuma and be entered to WIN…plus get 10% Off!

How It Works:

  1. Refer a fellow business or friend to place an order with Zuma.

  2. To enter, when ordering they must type Your Name and the term “Refer a Friend” in the Special Instructions Block at the bottom of the Checkout Page.

    Example:  Jane Smyth – Refer a Friend

  3. This enters both you and the new customer into the drawing for a FREE Keurig® Coffee Maker.

  4. You win no matter what!  All customers who refer a friend will receive an email for 10% off your next order, maximum discount $20.

The number of people who refer friends on promotions is generally low.  We expect to get a handful of referrals, so your odds of winning are REALLY HIGH!

The Keurig® K145 Brewing System makes a perfect cup of coffee every time - and it can be yours!

This Keurig® OfficePRO K145 Brewing System can be yours!

Important Notes:

  • Start telling your friends today.  Entries are accepted from June 1 to June 30, 2016.

  • The “New Customer” must be a verified new shopper with  Orders by customers/locations who have purchased from Zuma in the past will not qualify.

  • You may enter multiple times.  Refer 5 friends and get 5 entries.

  • Drawing will be held in early July, and free brewer will be delivered by July 31, 2016!

    keurig refer friend rekko

About the free Keurig® K-cup Brewing System:
The Keurig® OfficePRO K145 Brewing System brews a perfect cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa or iced beverages in under a minute.  With the choice of three cup sizes, you can brew the beverage you love at the touch of a button!

The Keurig® OfficePRO K145 has a list price of $217.50, and Zuma has it on sell now for $119.97.  It can be yours free simply by referring a friend to Zuma.

Thanks for helping Zuma Do Good Work!

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New Product Pages Make Searching Zuma’s Website Even Easier!

Online shopping for office supplies can be such a pain, right? Wrong! That is, whenever you order office supplies with Zuma using our helpful new product pages. We’ve restyled our product pages so our bullet points are easier to read, shipping information is more visible and the website overall is easier to shop.

Take a look at how has redesigned our product pages, and added new shopping features to help you find the office products you need fast:

Screenshot (62)

  • Top Seller & On Sale icons that show you Best Sellers and Sale Items.
  • Enhanced “Also Consider” suggestions make it easier to find what you need.
  • Price comparisons of the Big Box office stores to show you the Zuma savings!
  • Tabs which help you find product details, related accessories and more.


We’re sure that you’ll find our site easier to shop, but if you still have questions or concerns please contact us toll-free at 877-473-4097 or email Thanks for choosing Zuma – together we can Do Good Work!

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Zuma T-Shirts Are Here – Get One Free With $125 Order & Spread Good Karma!

Don’t you love it when doing one thing accomplishes two? The familiar cliche is killing two birds with one stone, but hey we’re not ones to want to kill two birds. Let’s just say has the perfect way to spread good karma with very little effort.

Zuma has new, really cool t-shirts we’d like give you for free! You get a nice free shirt that looks great, and we get a beautiful moving billboard that spreads the word about Zuma and how we Do Good Work, (that’s the two birds thing).

One of these awesome shirts can be yours for FREE with a $125 order! Here’s how:

Enjoy these top quality shirts! Remember your cart must be at least $125 not counting the shirt!

Enjoy these top quality shirts! Remember your cart must be at least $125 not counting the shirt!

In about 7 – 10 days a new awesome Zuma shirt will arrive at your door!  The shirts are top quality Port & Company 100% cotton and come in white and black. Sizes are Medium, Large, X-Large and XX-Large.

But hurry! Sizes and colors are limited and they will go fast.

Remember to enjoy today, smile randomly at others, and do good work with Zuma!

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday…How About Celebrating #GivingTuesday!

We know there are too many great deals out there for everyone to avoid the blitz of consumerism that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But, after the shopping rush and bargain chasing, wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone gave back just a little to help those in need?

You won’t see any “Black Friday” crazy deals from The world really doesn’t need another special offer on office supplies. Instead, we view this season as a time to give thanks for the beauty, blessings and good in the world, and then help others through supporting a favorite charity or community activity that truly makes a difference.

What exactly is Giving Tuesday?

After the commercialism and bargain hunting, let’s all participate in #GivingTuesday!

So what exactly is #GivingTuesday? Here’s a perfect summary from the #GivingTuesday website.

“We have a day for giving thanks. We have two days for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.”

At Zuma, we kick off #GivingTuesday by launching our 4th Annual Capital Area Food Bank Food Drive in conjunction with Vandegrift High School. It helps feed hungry Central Texans and sure feels good knowing it makes a difference, (the last two years we’ve raised almost 6,000 pounds of food – that’s about 4,950 meals!).

Jump into the joy of the season, and consider what you, your business and your family can do for others this #GivingTuesday!

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Zuma Charity Update – Our Customer Votes and Donation Results

We are always excited this time of year to make our annual donations to the great charities we support, and to thank our customers for helping us give back.  Zuma was started with the dream of making a difference by helping others, but we couldn’t do anything without our caring, long-time loyal customers.  Thank you for your support, and for helping us do good work!

It’s very difficult to make a profit in today’s office supplies market, with the major superstores losing money, merging together (Office Depot/OfficeMax,) and creating crazy competition.  We know we must work hard to provide great prices, fast shipping, and personal service to earn your business.  We also know you have many choices on where to buy office supplies, so we are truly grateful for you shopping with Zuma.

The V Foundation for Cancer Research

The V Foundation for Cancer Research is our #2 most popular charity.

I love this quote from Kahlil Gibran:
“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”

Thanks for letting us serve you, and in turn helping Zuma serve others.  Now to the results:


This is how you, our customers, voted when purchasing at during our fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, (charities listed in order of votes received).  Our annual donations are based on the percentage of votes for each charity:

  1. Best Friends Animal Society – Animal Relief & Rescue
  2. The V Foundation for Cancer Research – Cancer Research
  3. Fisher House Foundation – Military Families
  4. Big Brothers / Big Sisters – Children Mentorship
  5. Save the Children – Children Aid
  6. SafePlace – Domestic Violence Support
  7. Salvation Army – Humanitarian Aid
  8. Capital Area Food Bank – Hunger Prevention
  9. Year Up – Education For Disadvantaged Youth
  10. Prison Entrepreneurship Program – Prison Mentorship


Since our inception, Zuma has donated well over half our profits to worthy causes.  In fact the real number is over 80% of profits.  Zuma has donated $44,070.44 to the charities we support in our first five full years in business. Most start-up companies take 3-5 years before they reach profitability due to upfront investment, and Zuma is no exception.  However, we made the early decision to be true to our purpose, and donate a minimum of $5000 per year even before we were profitable.

In truth, our profit and giving plans were to give back more by this time.  But, we underestimated how difficult it is to start a business from scratch in an ultra-competitive industry like office supplies.  We are blessed with great customers, awesome employees and wonderful vendors, so we know Zuma will continue to grow and hopefully make a difference as more people hear about our company.

You can be a HUGE help!  Social media is a fantastic and free way to help us reach new customers.  “Like Us” on Facebook and “Follow Us” on Twitter.  Then share our great offers with your friends and spread the word.  We also promise to make you smile with funny and heartwarming posts you’ll want to share.

Fisher House is best known for a network of comfort homes where military families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.

Fisher House is best known for a network of comfort homes where military families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.


People sometimes ask why we give back.  Here’s why:

  1. To help others who are in need and create joy!
  2. To add meaning to the work life of all Zuma employees.
  3. To educate shoppers about top rated, incredible charities who are truly making a difference.
  4. To be an example to other businesses, and encourage others to adopt a similar “giving back” model.
  5. To encourage our customers to volunteer time and support for their favorite charities.

Should you have any questions regarding our charitable business model, the voting preferences of our customers, or just want to talk about giving back, feel free to email me at or call 877-473-4097.

Thank you for your business, and working together to DO GOOD WORK!

Please Note: The charities we support are selected by Zuma staff and customer input, and do not reflect an endorsement by those charities of our company or our products. They are simply great organizations we believe in and support.

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Austin Gives Recognizes Businesses Who Give Back

Zuma Office Recognizes Winners of Prestigious Award

In 2014, Zuma Office Supply was recognized by Austin Gives, the Mayor of Austin, and John Paul DeJoria with the Charitable Champions Award as one of the most philanthropic businesses in Austin. Also recognized that year were eBay, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Company, both great companies who do good work for others as part of their business model.

This year’s awards were held in downtown Austin and emceed by CBS KEYE News anchors Walt Maciborski and Hema Mullur. The featured speaker and award presenter was Ray Benson, the nine time Grammy Award winner, and leader of Asleep at the Wheel, the beloved Texas Swing band with over 25 albums and fans worldwide. Ray won over the audience with some impromptu music and compelling stories about what giving back means to him, and how he’s worked to help others throughout his life.

Zuma President Greg Pierce with nine time Grammy Award winner Ray Benson at the Austin Gives Awards.

Zuma President Greg Pierce with nine time Grammy Award winner Ray Benson at the Austin Gives Awards.

Austin Gives is about recognition and celebration of business philanthropy, and their goal is for Austin to become the most philanthropic city in the world. It was truly an honor that they recognized how Zuma turns selling office supplies into a means to help others. This is from their website:

“We all know how important business philanthropy is to the well-being and social sustainability of our community. Austin-based businesses have a long standing history of giving back, often with little or no public recognition. Austin Gives: Recognizing Businesses Giving Back is committed to changing this lack of attention and to increasing the level of charitable contributions made to the community by local businesses.

We invite businesses who donate 1% or more of their profits to philanthropy (through monetary donations, donated product or service, or volunteerism) to make the Austin Gives pledge, setting an example for existing and new businesses making our city their home.”

Austin Gives viewed Zuma’s model of donating over 50% of profits to charity, plus our corporate volunteerism with multiple charities as truly above and beyond. This included our annual Capital Area Food Bank food drive, in partnership with Vandegrift High School, which has raised thousands of pounds of food and healthy meals for families all across Central Texas.

Zuma recognizes the winners of this years Austin Gives GeneroCity Awards!

Zuma recognizes the winners of this years Austin Gives GeneroCity Awards!

Zuma sends out special congratulations to this year’s winners, recognizing them as revolutionaries in how business is done the right way — through giving back to the community and helping others. The winners are: Silicon Labs, Yellow Cab and South Texas Money Management. Congratulations to all!

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Binder Ring Sizes – How to Find the Right Size Binder for Your Needs

How Do I Know What Binder Ring Size I Need?

Need to buy some view binders for a big special project, but uncertain what binder ring sizes you need?  One of the most frequent questions we get from customers shopping for office supplies is “What size ring binder do I need?”.  People often have a binder that is the right size they’d like to buy, but have no idea what ring size that binder is so they can order more, causing them to pull out the ruler and estimate the size.

The first thing to remember – you DO NOT determine binder rings sizes by measuring the spine, (and unfortunately many people use this method and order the wrong size). Binder sizes are actually based on the size of the ring not the spine, and with today’s many different ring styles that are not a perfect circle, like D-rings, EZD, and Slant-D ring binders, measuring the ring is virtually impossible. What side of the ring do you measure?

To find the right binder ring size for your needs, do not measure the spine.

To find the right binder ring size for your needs, do not measure the spine.

The only sure fire way to always order the right size binder for your needs is by basing it on the number of sheets you plan to put into the binder. While it is true you can measure the diameter of a round ring binder to get the correct binder size, various D-ring styles are very popular today, so do not try and measure when a D-ring binder is what you need.

The Chart below is all you need to always buy the right binder size:

Ring Size      D-Ring Sheet Capacity      Round Ring Sheet Capacity
½”                   100                                                  125
1″                     100-275                                          125-250
1 ½”                275-450                                          220-350
2″                     400-550                                         325-500
3″                     500-650                                         450-600
4″                     650-780                                          600-750
5″                     780-1050                                       750-1000
6″                     1300

Typically people order a much larger binder than they really need. For example, you may have a bunch of sheets to go into a view binder and think a 3 inch ring is what you need, but do you really have 500+ sheets? That’s a full ream of copy paper which is a lot of paper. Even when you have lots of materials to insert, a 1-1/2 inch or 2 inch binder is usually large enough for most uses.

Of course sometimes you may need a huge binder for storage or massive projects. That’s where 4 inch and 5 inch binders come in. They are perfect for storing large amounts of paper and are very durable.

When it comes to binder brands, recommends Universal view binders as the best value to quality brand. That means Universal binders give you good quality and a great price. If durability and heavy-duty binders are important to you, then we recommend the Avery Durable line of binders which are more expensive, but last longer than typical binders. And for heavy duty projects, we like to go with Wilson Jones Heavy Duty binders for their durable construction, heavier rings, and thicker board.

Of course whenever there is a doubt, it’s always best to call and ask your office products dealer what size they recommend. Better to be safe than have cartons of products that are the wrong size that need to be returned. Shipping binders is not cheap! Whatever binder you need, be it view binders, non-view binders are specialty items like index dividers and table of contents dividers, always make certain you are purchasing exactly what you need.

Buying office supplies online is convenient, fast and can save you money, but it is always wise to make certain what you are buying, especially when it comes to binders, is exactly what you need!


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How to Find the Right Classification Folders

Buy Classification Folders That Are Exactly What You Need!

How do I find the right classification folders for my office?  This is a question we hear often, because of all the file folders we sell, classification folders are the most complicated and difficult to purchase.  This quick guide tells you all you need to know to quickly and confidently order the right folder every time.

Unlike standard file folders or hanging folders where you only need to worry about the size, color and what tab cut you want, classification folders have many different variables to consider.  Today, buying office supplies online is now the preferred way to order office products, and you need a step-by-step guide to ensure you find the exact item for your needs.

Universal Classification Folders

Classification folders like this one from Universal have many different features to consider.

First search “Classification Folders” on your favorite office supply website, like  Then use the search navigation of the site to refine your search down to exactly what you need:

Select Your Size – First you should sort by size.  Classification folders come in letter size which holds standard 8.5 x 11 papers, and legal size holds 8.5 x 14 papers.  Make sure you order the size you need!  You’d be surprised how many people order the wrong size.

Select Your Sections – This is the confusing part.  The number of sections refers to how many different filing areas there are in the folder, not how many individual dividers there are.  Because classification folders have fasteners to hold papers at the top of each area, these count as a “section”.  Here is an easy way to stop the confusion:
4 Section Folders – These have 1 divider in the middle of the folder.
6 Section Folders – These have 2 dividers and are the most popular style.
8 Section Folders – These have 3 dividers.

Select Your Color – Classification folders come in a variety of colors.  These include the old stand-by manila as well as top selling colors red, blue, green, gray and yellow.  Most people by multiple colors so they can color code their filing system, which we highly recommend for efficiency.

Select Your Tab – Like sections, this is where many people get confused and order the wrong item.  There are two basic choices.  Top Tab file folders are the most popular style.  Like most standard file folders, they have the tab of the folder, where you write or place a label, on the long horizontal side of the folder or “on top”.

End Tab classification folders have the tab on the short side, or vertical side of the folder, on the end.  These are used for most doctor and dentist office filing systems where labels are secured on the end tabs for filing things alphabetically or by date.

Smead End Tab Classification Folders

This Smead end tab classification folder shows the positioning of the tab for labeling.

Once you’ve sorted by size, section, color and tab, all that’s left is selecting the brand you prefer and the price you want to pay.  We recommend two brands – Smead for their breadth of line and quality, and Universal classification folders for their great price and value.  In fact, Universal is our top selling line of folders because the pricing is really low, and the quality is on par with the national brands.

That’s it!  Some last details to make you an expert.  Most quality classification folders are made using pressboard material which is what you should look for.  That makes the folder more durable and long lasting.  Standard weights for pressboard today are between 23 – 25 point, but 15 point is sometimes used for manila folders.  Classification folders have two additional special features:  2” fasteners at the top of each section which hold two-hole punched papers, and the bottom gussets are expandable by 2” to hold tons of pages.

Now you can buy classification folders with confidence, and buying office supplies online with Zuma gets you your order in 1-2 business days while knowing you are buying from an independent company who give back to the community.  Like what you’ve learned or have questions?  Let us know.

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Staples and Office Depot Merger Talks

Zuma’s View – If Staples / Office Depot Merger is Approved, Who Wins?

Word on the street is “activist investor” Starboard LP who owns 6% of Staples and 10% of Office Depot is pushing for a merger of the two companies in hopes of creating a $35 billion monolith with 4,000 retail stores and incredible market influence.  Soon a consumer’s choice of where to buy office supplies like view binders, report covers and hanging folders could go from three large “big box” superstore chains to one.

This is on the heels of the 2013 merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax, creating a massive corporation of over $18 billion in revenue.  Whether or not the Office Depot and OfficeMax merger should have cleared through the FTC is debatable.  In 1997, when there were far more competitors in the business to business office supplies market, Staples tried to purchase Office Depot, and in what became a political battle, Staples was denied that opportunity.

The office supplies market is struggling mightily with insane price competition, dwindling profits, and a decreasing demand for the first time in history.  Because Office Depot and OfficeMax have posted terrible results for a long time and had modest chances of survival separately, it probably made sense for the FTC to approve the merger and hope the two combined companies could make a go of it.

Questionable marketing spending like this are one reason Office Depot and OfficeMax are struggling.

Questionable marketing spending like this are one reason Office Depot and OfficeMax are struggling.

Today’s Staples/Depot merger would be far different than the one the federal government shut down back in ’97.  This one is going from 2 superstores to only 1 remaining entity, not 3 to 2 like in 1997, a major difference Wall Street investors conveniently gloss over.  The question of should Staples and Office Depot/Max be allowed merge will be answered by the FTC.  My personal opinion is, while it would be good for Zuma Office Supply at least short term, it would be bad for many others.  So I say strongly no, it should not be approved.  Here’s why:

Too Much Clout:  I was a senior executive selling to the Big Box stores at very large office products manufacturers, Acco Brands being most recent (NYSE: ACCO).  The amount of clout the three superstores hold over manufacturers is unbelievable.   With almost no other sizeable customers of any consequence to sell our wares, we had to do whatever it took to get the business at the three overly demanding chains.  The fact was, if you did not get the business from at least one of the three, you were out of business.

Knowing this fact, Superstores put all product categories out to bid on an annual or bi-annual basis where manufacturers must offer crazy deals to either keep, or gain the business.  It is no surprise that there is not one office supplies manufacturer doing well.  Once proud companies like Esselte, Mead Products and American Pad & Paper are gone, their brands merged into struggling concerns hanging by a thread.  Even Avery, a once huge office supply company, sold their office products division to CCL Industries for almost nothing.  They have all been raped by the Big 3.  If that Big 3 dwindles to the BIG 1, it is death to many office supply manufacturers.

At $35 billion in sales, Staples/Office Depot would do more volume in 3 days than any other independent office supply company will do in sales for a full year!  Think about that market power.

Lost US Jobs:  The Office Depot/OfficeMax merger was applauded by some investors for one reason – cost cutting to improve the bottom line.  They estimated the merger would eventually lead to $500-$600 million in reduced cost.  We all know “cost reductions” mean fired workers.  When two huge companies merge, all redundant employees get the boot creating “efficiencies” for the new combined companies.  Sounds like thousands of hard working people who helped build these companies get shafted so Starboard, investment bankers and upper management can profit.

And, lost jobs won’t only happen at the merged companies.  I watched as manufacturing companies I worked for closed down US plants and moved them to Mexico to meet the price demands of the Big 3 superstores.  I again watched as our Mexico plants were then shut down, and most products were outsourced to China, because relentless price pressure from the superstores meant either we cut cost to keep the business, or lose the business and close the doors.  I am not proud to say that at the time, I was one of the people saying we needed to do everything possible to keep the business and find the lowest possible cost.

After dealing with the unbridled market influence of the Big 3 for so long, I left corporate America with a purpose of starting a new company with an exact opposite approach to business than the office superstores –

A “Business to Business” Monopoly:  Wall Street says “the market has changed” since the 1997 failed attempt of Staples buying Office Depot because “companies like Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon are now selling office supplies”.  Are you kidding me?

There is no doubt those companies have made a dent in the retail sales of Staples, Depot and Max by taking away small office and home office shoppers.  But the majority of office supplies are sold through large business to business contracts to huge companies.  Is Amazon going to win the State of New York office supply contract?  Will Wal-Mart ever become the supplier to Dell Computer?  How about Target becoming the office products provider for General Motors?

Wall Street is saying this nonsense because greedy investors want this deal to go through.  The fact is the majority of office product and office furniture sales go through “contract stationers” or commercial dealers and, oh yeah, Staples, Office Depot and Office Max bought all the large ones.  If you know anything about office supplies, you know these companies who were once thriving, large, publicly traded commercial office supply companies:  Anyone remember Boise Cascade?  How about Corporate Express?  The BT Group, US Office Products?

All of these substantial companies who were around when the Staples/Depot merger of 1997 was denied are now gone.  Where to you ask?  They were acquired by Staples, OfficeMax and Office Depot.  If you are a large corporation or government entity, and the Staples/Office Depot merger is allowed to happen, you have exactly one choice for a supplier.

The amount Staples spends on naming rights for Staples Center is more than the sales of most all of their competitors.

The amount Staples spends on naming rights for Staples Center is more than the sales of most all of their competitors.

There’s more I could add, but suffice it to say that a Staples/Depot merger is bad for employees, bad for vendors, bad for customers, and bad for the communities where huge warehouses and offices will close, (remember, your tax dollars went to fund the openings of many of them).  The result will be the exact opposite of the business model we follow at Zuma – Conscious Capitalism.  This model says good business treats customers, employees, vendors, the community and the environment with fairness, honesty and openness.  If something is bad for these vital partners, ultimately it is bad for business.

If the merger does go through, it is a good thing for Zuma Office Supply on the surface.  We have already gained new customers from shoppers who are dissatisfied with the Depot/Max merger.  Their sales person was fired, the new customer service is poor, the fill rates are bad because of warehouse closures, etc.  That will only continue at a higher rate if Staples buys Office Depot – people will search for a new supplier, and hopefully many will hear about

However, I’ve been in business long enough to know that surface or short term gains can be bad in the long run.  If the manufacturers we count on for quality products go out of business because Staples’ demands don’t allow them make a reasonable profit, we lose.  When employees are fired, jobs are lost, and plants are moved overseas, we all lose.  When one company becomes so powerful that their customers have no choice, we all lose.

The answer to the question in the title – “If Staples / Depot Merger is Approved, Who Wins?” – is clear.  Activist investor Starboard LP, Investment Bankers and Senior Executives with stock options already making ridiculous salaries compared to average workers.  The losers are thousands of displaced employees, many facility shut downs hurting local communities, and US manufacturers who will be sucked dry.

Regardless of if the Staples/Depot merger happens, I enthusiastically encourage everyone to buy from independent online office supplies stores, or your local office products dealer.   Our prices are great, we do business the right way, and in Zuma’s case we give away over half our profits to great charities to help our communities.  Bigger these days is usually not better.

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