The Internet has brought the world of shopping closer to the customer with ease. Now, one island business wants to offer that ease with a little local flair.
Paper Products, Etc., who has a storefront on Winslow Way, has added an online store for commercial orders. The online venture has proved to be a success.
“It’s about an extra $30,000 in sales per month and we expect that to grow,” said Terry Arndt, co-owner of Paper Products, Etc. “We’ve doubled our business every month.”
Through their online service the store offers over 380,000 office products.
“We have competitive prices,” he added. “We can match our big box competitors, if not beat them.”
While they can match the prices of their national chain competitors, shopping with Paper Products, Etc. provides a little extra incentive for local businesses — they’re local too.
“You are going to keep you dollars here,” Arndt said.
It’s a classic model of local businesses working with other local businesses. With the online component, Paper Products, Etc. has been able to gain additional clients throughout the Kitsap region.
The business has also gotten a boost from improved sales with local government organizations such as the Bainbridge Island School District, and the city of Bainbridge Island itself.
Local corporate giant Avalara also has jumped on the Paper Products, Etc. bandwagon and, according to Arndt, buys approximately 90 percent of their office needs from them.
Now Paper Products, Etc. plans to expand their business beyond the island.
“The next move is the county and other cities,” Arndt said.
With success on Bainbridge Island, he can point to satisfied customers, and a track record, to draw in more business.
With the commercial side of the business growing, Paper Products, Etc. will establish a commercial hub somewhere off island. The headquarters of the business will remain on the Bainbridge, but to better serve the area, the commercial side will have to be centrally located.
Paper Products, Etc. currently only offers commercial orders over the internet, but Arndt is looking into the online consumer possibilities as well. He wants to add an online component so the average joe customer can shop at Paper Products, Etc. from the comfort of their computer.
While Arndt couldn’t pinpoint an exact date they will have consumer online orders available, he hopes to have something developed by the end of the year. When that happens, Paper Products, Etc. can provide customers the ease of buying online, as well as the benefit of shopping local.
“We would essentially be a local Amazon.com,” he said.
Paper Products opened 36 years ago on Bainbridge Island. Arndt’s wife, Joanna, bought the business six years ago.