Honoré Office Products, Dallas, Texas

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In 1996, Bruce Honoré tried to cash his paycheck, but it bounced. He went to the office products company where he worked and found the door locked. The company had gone under. So, with just a 30×60 folding table, an old computer and a carbon-copy printer, he set to work and started his own company.

Bruce would drop off his wife, Brenda, at work and their children—including current Honoré CEO Barry—at school. Then, he would take the seats out of the van, fill it with office supplies and make deliveries. The business grew enough to require a storage unit and, a few years later, an office. Brenda quit her job to help with the family business full time.

Yet it wasn’t until Bruce signed his first contract with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD), one of the 15 largest school districts nationwide, that the business really took off. Today, Honoré still has the DISD contract and other lucrative school accounts.

“We sell a ton of furniture in the education sector,” says Barry, who worked for the company during summers and joined after college when sports politics drove him out of basketball. “In 2020, we were named the top independent furniture dealer by S.P. Richards. We were in the top five in 2021 and headed for the top for 2022 as well.”

Switching gears

Honoré had dabbled in janitorial supplies pre-pandemic; but when COVID-19 hit, Barry knew it was time to expand.

“The week before the shutdown, we were on vacation,” he recalls. “We heard people talking about a shutdown and I knew if that happened, most of our business would be gone. When we got home, I started ordering janitorial products. We ordered huge shipments of disinfectant and wipes. We paid cash for Kleenex and paper towels so we could get them. We ordered truckload after truckload of personal protective equipment and thermometers, and thousands and thousands of batteries, since the thermometers didn’t come with them. We had our best year ever during the pandemic.”


Contracts versus Amazon

One of the advantages of contracts, such as with DISD, is that district employees can’t buy contracted supplies from other sources. This—and being the only local minority-owned office products company in the area—helps stave off competition from Amazon. However, Honoré is not entirely immune to its threat.

“Teachers will go to Amazon and send us a screenshot of items they say are cheaper,” says Barry. “That’s when we have to have the candid conversation. Amazon is not always the cheapest; and since we are resellers, we are not always the cheapest. We’re also not the most expensive. But it’s not our pricing that helps us grow our business. It’s our customer service. We all sell the same products, maybe for a nickel above or below. But our customers can pick up the phone and call my sister or me, and they will have those 20 binders, markers, etc., the next day. We are also transparent. If we don’t have something, we tell them rather than stringing them along. Our customers are state and local governments. They aren’t spending their personal money, so what they care about is service.”

Often Honoré helps these customers curb their spending. “The government gets a lot of state and federal funding, and we all pay taxes,” Barry says. “I look at how the money is being spent because it’s coming out of my tax dollars. These customers don’t need to overspend. They don’t need the most expensive desks. They need the best bang for their buck.”

And what does Barry believe other dealers looking to stay in business need? “To be able to adapt to customers’ needs and build relationships,” he says. “All my customers know Barry!”


Company name: Honoré Office Products

Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

Top management: Barry Honoré, owner and CEO; Clarissa Honoré, office manager

Main wholesaler: S.P. Richards

Number of employees: 8

Annual sales: $6 million