There was big news announced in our industry a couple of weeks ago, when Staples announced a proposed acquisition of Office Depot. As you likely already know, Office Depot and Office Max just underwent a similar transformation. The fallout from that venture is still in process as retail stores are being closed, positions are being cut, and the companies continue to integrate their operational platforms.
There’s a lot of chatter about what this will mean for stock prices, investors, and whether the FTC will ultimately approve this plan. But here’s my question: what about the customers?
Merging two companies of this size will surely be a complex endeavor, and regardless of the relative strength of their management teams, there will be problems. Customers that stayed with Office Depot through the Depot/Max merger will now be going through this whole ordeal again – changing online ordering platforms, seeing retail stores close, and possibly losing their account representative (if they had one). Those are just the most obvious shoes that will drop. And will this new entity be focused on serving their customers, or will they simply be trying to get through this arduous process while keeping stock values high? And when customers have questions about what’s going on, is there a person who they can count on to answer their questions?
Over the past four years, while the big boxes have been falling over themselves to band together, Rogards has also been changing. We’ve added new customers. We’ve increased our capabilities in areas beyond traditional office supplies and furniture, such as janitorial products, safety solutions, and coffee service. We continue to grow with new initiatives such as our LED lighting program. We continue to invest in training, development, and benefits for our team. We look to the future and see opportunity to continue to grow and expand our offerings, but as we look at these new opportunities we are always careful to ask: what about our customers? Will they appreciate having access to these new products? And will they like being able to call a well-trained customer service or account management team to ask questions about their workplace problems? And do our customers want a partner that is involved in our local community?
We believe strongly that the direction we are going is a positive direction for our customers. And we’re committed to growing, changing, and evolving with our customers. So for those customers who have been on this journey with us, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. We will continue to work every day to grow with you and meet your needs. And for those big box customers who wonder where this proposed Staples/Depot merger leaves them, we’re right here for you, and we’re ready to grow with you, too.