Strive Workplace Solutions, Portland, Oregon

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Jeff Lurcook, president of the conglomerate of companies that will rebrand as Strive Workplace Solutions on June 1, suggests the key to success is straightforward. “It’s not a secret,” he says. “It is a lot of hard work, business integrity and solid business practices”—and sometimes fruit.

Fruit? “A year or two ago, we had a big corporate company move into the Boise area that had been on our radar for a while,” he explains. “It takes a long time for a company that size to go from prospect to customer; changing where it buys office products is not a high priority. One day, the buyer told me, ‘Now if you sold fruit, I’d switch to you.’ She explained how every Sunday night, she had to drive to Costco to get fresh fruit for the breakroom and haul it home, then drive to work early Monday mornings to get it there on time. So I said, ‘We can do that.’ At first, she didn’t believe me; but I told her we would go to Costco and buy the fruit and deliver it for her every Monday morning—and that’s what we did.”

Not only did Strive land the account, but word got around. Now, every Monday morning, Strive employees shop for fruit at Costco and deliver it and other breakroom foods to about 10 large customers. The service has proved so lucrative that Lurcook estimates food and breakroom-related products now account for about 50 percent of the company’s business.

Fruit delivery is just one example of Strive’s willingness to go above and beyond. (“We tell our employees to find a way to say yes to our customers,” Lurcook says.) It also illustrates what Lurcook believes is essential for success in the IDC: diversification.

“In addition to office products, we sell janitorial and printing supplies, specialty items such as spa and pool items, LED lights, our breakroom snacks, and—yes, fruit!” he says. “You can’t make a living anymore just selling binder clips and staples. If you don’t diversify, you will die.”

Four of the companies owned by the Savory brothers—Southwest Office Supply and Interiors, Portland, Oregon; Office Value Supplies and Interiors, Meridian, Idaho; Cascades Office Supply, Bend, Oregon; and ROSI Workplace Solutions, Salt Lake City, Utah—are under the new Strive brand. Layton Office Supply, Layton, Utah, and its subsidiary, Platinum Office Products, Provo, Utah, which were acquired in March, will join the Strive brand later this year.

“We went through a laborious rebranding process,” Lurcook says. “We couldn’t use the owners’ name, because the first thing everyone thinks of when they hear Savory is food. And we didn’t want ‘office products.’ Inside all our facilities, we have signs that read, ‘Strive to Delight Our Customers Every Day.’ Ultimately, this seemed the best choice because it also makes people curious. If you pull up to a van that says, ‘Bob’s Office Products,’ you don’t think any more about it. But if you see a van that says ‘Strive’ with just a website, you might be curious enough to go to the site, and that’s what we want.”

With nearly 70-80 percent of Strive’s business coming online, the rebrand included creating a single Strive website to replace the multiple sites and upgrading the company’s e-commerce system.

But for all that has changed at Strive, according to Lurcook, the important things remain the same. “We treat our internal customers, our staff, the same way we do our external customers—with respect,” Lurcook says. “And family always comes first. We sell office supplies; it’s not rocket science. If an employee has a family crisis, we do all we can to provide support. We tell them, ‘Take care of family first; your job will still be here.’”