Zuma Office Supply, Houston, Texas

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Zuma Office Supply opened its doors in 2009. President and chief operating officer Mason Kramer bought into Zuma in 2017; while CEO Jacob Walker was formerly president of Buy on Purpose, a company that merged with Zuma in 2022. Mason and Jacob bought and consolidated the companies in 2023, and then purchased North Carolina-based dealer Anything Office in 2024, bringing it into the Zuma fold.

Both men believe consolidating under the Zuma banner is key to the company’s success; as has making ordering from Zuma as easy as possible.

“We branded the companies under the Zuma name and it has solidified us in the market, especially in the online space,” Mason explains. “Also, our customer service team is what sets us apart from all our competitors. The experience an existing or a first-time customer gets when ordering online or over the phone is the best in the industry. We treat each customer as if they were our only customer. This has set us up for long-term success and keeps them coming back.”

A willingness to look beyond traditional sectors and products is another USP. “We are open to selling to all verticals,” says Mason. “In addition to office supplies, jan/san and breakroom, we offer a full scope of school supplies, technology products, promotional items, auto supplies, printing, industrial, furniture, food service, special order items and ink and toner.”

Yet both owners believe that while you can have the best brand, easy ordering and a vast array of products, ultimately one ingredient trumps the rest. “Our people are the number one reason for our success,” insists Mason. “We have very low turnover and I think that’s because of our culture. Our people feel part of the team. To them, it’s not just a job. They feel part of our success and are the reason for it.” In fact, Jacob reports that the company has a designated “celebration team” with its own budget to celebrate employee birthdays, anniversaries and other life events.

 

Giving back pays dividends

Another vital aspect of Zuma’s culture is giving back to the community. The company donates 10 percent of its net profits to local charities that serve the most vulnerable populations. Customers also have the option to round up or donate to a specific nonprofit chosen by the Zuma team each month.

“That’s just who we are,” says Jacob, who acknowledges it is also good business. “Giving back is also important to our team. They know that selling and growing our business is not our sole goal. The people who work for us share this desire, so it helps us recruit the type and quality of people we want. And customers don’t see the option to donate until they check out, so while it may not attract new customers, it helps solidify that second order.”

 

Up for the challenges

With success, of course, come challenges. “The two biggest problems we currently face are product sourcing and shipping,” reports Jacob. “Sourcing from overseas and not knowing when it will arrive causes inventory issues, and shipping is tougher and more expensive than before.”

As for Amazon? “I don’t see it as a competitor,” says Mason. “Customers want to know they have a team and support behind their orders. We’ve done a good job of putting people in the right place, giving clear direction and implementing good processes. Customers can feel this, and it is a differentiator. Customers who want the lowest price are not the customers we are after.”

When it comes to advice for other dealers, Mason muses: “I honestly think it’s about being aggressive, proactive and not thinking in the traditional way many dealers think. Employ people who dare to be different. If you want to be complacent, I’d suggest going out of business or being bought.”

Jacob adds: “Having a strategy and not getting stuck is important; but I strongly believe that if a company doesn’t focus on its employees and culture, it will be severely limited.”

 

Headquarters: Houston, Texas

Top management: Mason Kramer, president and chief operations officer; Jacob Walker, CEO; Eddie Martinez, vice president—sales; Matu Cooklin, vice president—accounting; Joanne Hu, vice president—customer service

Number of employees: 13

Annual sales: $13 million

Online business: 80%

Main wholesaler: Essendant