When competition heats up, leading a sales call with office supplies might not always be the best way to attract new business. Just ask Bill Regan, co-owner and vice president at Stotz & Fatzinger, Easton, Pennsylvania. The dealership sells office supplies, furniture, promotional items, printing and business forms, janitorial supplies and break room. “We really try to lead with value-added products like janitorial or business forms,” says Bill. “Once you build that relationship office supplies will follow.”
Stotz & Fatzinger is situated in a five-county area on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border. Bill, along with his wife Nancy, who is company president, run the dealership. “We are a one-stop shop for so many different products,” adds Bill. He contends that it’s product diversification that has kept the dealership competitive. “We are the only local company that remains after all these years.”
The dealership sponsors events and works with non-profits to bolster its local identity. “We just did a show with our local chamber of commerce,” says Bill. The opportunity was seen as an investment to meet with local businesses and community leaders and also to create local dealer awareness.
Local values can make a difference and salespeople readily adopt the concept. The niche in which Stotz & Fatzinger operates deals with offices of between ten to 100 employees. “It’s not a hard sell to get people to say they want to buy local, but you have to give them good pricing and you have to give them service,” says Bill.
Numerous competitive challenges face the dealership daily, including online sellers and regional and national players. Salespeople endeavor to level the playing field and are aided by certifications the dealership holds. Stotz & Fatzinger is a Pennsylvania certified Woman Business Enterprise which helps expand the company’s visibility among corporate decision makers.
Also adding to the competitive arsenal is participation in Pennsylvania’s COSTARS cooperative purchasing program. The program establishes Stotz & Fatzinger as a supplier to entities spending public funds for procurement.
“Now they go to an approved vendor at a predetermined discount and remove the expensive bid process,” says Bill.
He relates how, not that long ago, the dealership tried to provide everything for everybody. That position was unsustainable; in response Stotz & Fatzinger reviewed its accounts to determine which to maintain and which to make changes to, based upon a number of variables. “We are not that vendor for every business that’s out there, so we tried to target the type of accounts we do really well with. And then just try to find more of them,” says Bill.
Much of the growth today comes from sales of janitorial, break room and printing to complement traditional office products. There has been a nice uptick with furniture sales as well. Those are the products that salespeople concentrate on, along with business forms, when they open new accounts.
Bill sees opportunity in the janitorial area and is looking to hire a specialist or possibly identify a small janitorial organization that is ripe for acquisition. Alternatively, he also seeks a business forms dealer that might be looking to sell out. “We want to continue to work for a bit so our goal is to blend those businesses into our business,” he says.
As that goal is pursued the next generation of Regan’s is making a significant impact on current operations. “Our middle daughter, Courtney, is getting her master’s degree from Cornell,” says Bill. She works behind the scenes on many operational tasks and concentrates on the S.P. Richards and Essendant pricing matrices to improve margins.
Key management team members: Nancy and Bill Regan, and Courtney Millen
Products carried: Office and promotional products, furniture, janitorial, printing, break room and ice melt
Year founded: 1989
No of Employees: 15
Key business partners: S.P. Richards, Essendant, Independent Suppliers Group and their many vendors
% of total sales generated online: 70%