Perry Office Plus, Temple, Texas

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When a company has been around for 104 years, it must be doing something right. When that company has become a fixture of the IDC—like Perry Office Plus, Temple, Texas—it must be doing a whole lot right.

Perry Office Plus was founded in 1920 as American Printing. The company soon added office products and furniture to its offering. In the 1960s, the Perrys purchased the company and operated it until 1994, when it changed hands to H.B. Macey’s parents. In 2022, H.B. and his wife, Lynnsay, purchased Perry Office Plus, which has now expanded further into the warewash, laundry, breakroom and janitorial segments. In 2018, Perry also acquired an independent dealer focused on contract furniture, a category which today accounts for between 55 percent and 60 percent of total sales.
This acquisition was the first of several. “We’ve made four acquisitions in the last six years in the Central Texas area,” says H.B. “In particular, we have been successful acquiring office product companies from owners who are ready to retire or step away from the business, but do not have an obvious successor.”

The plan works out well for all stakeholders: “Acquiring companies like this is a good way to grow our footprint quickly. We get better pricing and can make those companies profitable under the Perry name. We also keep the employees. The last acquisition we made had five employees. We kept four, including one of the owners. The other owner was retiring.”

Top secrets
According to H.B., Perry’s success lies in several factors—and the first is: “Hiring the right folks and treating them right. We have a driver who has been here 30 years and several of the top management a decade or more. I also think it is important to adjust to the marketplace. Ours is an ever-changing industry and dealers that don’t adapt to change can’t stay relevant. The third is looking toward the future regarding technology. In 2009, we made a vast improvement by implementing a new ERP system.
“However, like most dealers, we relied on the e-commerce website available through this software provider for years, and we found this gave the wholesalers a lot of control over content and restrict functionality and customization. That’s why, in 2022, we developed our own independent website, as well as a separate portfolio site for our furniture division.”
Shelli Hellinghausen, Perry’s chief operating officer, suggests trust is another key success factor: “The company has always been run with integrity. We have a stellar reputation in central Texas, so they trust us when we make a change.”

While both executives agree Amazon is a bona fide competitor, they believe there are ways to combat the online giant, including through buying groups. “The buying groups are very important,” stresses H.B. “They get us rebates, better pricing and other things. Perry has been a member of ISG since 1992. I think they do a great job, but they and the IDC should hold manufacturers’ feet to the fire and get them to decide: ‘Do you want to sell to Amazon or the IDC?’ Some manufacturers, such as HP and Hon, have set minimum pricing for Amazon that it can’t go below. It would be good if more would.”
For those keen to flourish in the industry, Hellinghausen has some sage counsel: “Think outside the box and be poised for growth. But know your financial numbers, your capabilities and your people. There are a lot of opportunities out there, but not all of them may be right for your company. Select opportunities that make sense and will be a good fit.”

 

Headquarters: Temple, Texas
Number of employees: 51
Top management: H.B. Macey, owner/president; Lynnsay Macey, owner/customer support manager; Shelli Hellinghausen, chief operating officer; Jessica Speer, furniture manager; Bonnie Johnson, marketing manager; Stacy Haugeberg, purchasing and distribution manager; Chris Carter, chief information officer
Main wholesaler(s): S.P Richards and Essendant