A Brief History of Office Supply Stores

For many decades, office supplies have often been sold in local bookstores around the country and in other parts of the world. Today, there are a number of different stores such as Office Depot and Staples that specialize in providing business establishments with various office supplies and equipment. From paper products to office furniture and fixtures, these office supply shops have become the one-stop shop for many business entrepreneurs regardless of the size of the company.

How it all began

Most of the popular office supply stores had their beginnings during the late 1980s. Staples and Office Depot were the first to be established in 1986. Two years after, Office Max opened its first store. Today, these three office supply retail stores are the top three most popular chains with branches all over the United States and even in other parts of the world.

The primary reason for the establishment of a specialized office supply store came as a result of a need. The founders of Staples and Office Depot have begun to notice that, although bookstores do provide many of the office supplies that are needed by any business establishment, these are often sold in retail. As such, many business establishments, especially those who are just beginning to start their own small business or home office to settle with whatever number of supplies that are available. Another problem that they noticed is that budding business entrepreneurs would need to travel from one store to another in order to acquire everything that they would need for their business. For instance, if they would need some office furniture and fixture, they would need to go to a furniture store. For their computer and electronic equipment needs, they would need to head down to an appliance or computer store for this.

The solution

In line with this, the founders of Staples, Home Depot and Office Max came up with a solution. That is, to provide business entrepreneurs a one-stop shop where everything that they would need for their business would be available. Apart from providing all the supplies, equipment and furnishings that you may need, these office supply specialty stores sell items both in retail and in bulk.

Evolution of Services

Today, office supply stores now also offer a number of different services that you will need for your business. For example, apart from providing office supplies, equipment and furnishings, Staples now has a business center in every establishment. Here, customers can avail of services such as fax transmittals, creation of business materials, binding, laminating and the like. They also provide a service center for computers, printers and laptops. Office Depot now also offers ink refilling services to its customers by refilling emptied printer ink cartridges, allowing them to save money.

Reaching out to their customers

Another plus for office supply stores is that they provide great discounts and offers for products like photo paper, printers, ink cartridges, etc. And they do it not just to budding business entrepreneurs. These offers and discounts are meant to attract teachers, students and any one who needs to avail of any of their products and services. Such is the case with Office Depot with their STAR Teacher Program. Through this program, a teacher is given huge discounts on selected services and products such as copying services and supplies that he or she would need.

Easy Leather Cleaning Tips For Leather Furniture

Many people choose leather furniture to furnish their home.   Some choose leather for its luxury and beauty, others because it can hold up to the demands of a busy family. Whatever your reason, you have made a big investment. With a few leather cleaning tips and a little elbow grease, you can keep your leather furniture looking beautiful for many years to come!

The most important of leather cleaning tips is to check your furniture’s label before you do anything!   This will give you exact care instructions to prevent damaging your furniture. Next, be sure you have the right supplies on hand. Purchase a premium leather cleaner that contains natural oils or you can make one yourself. For homemade leather cleaner, mix together 2 cups linseed oil with 1 cup vinegar. Stock up on soft, lint-free cloths. 

Some leather cleaning tips you can use at regular intervals to keep your furniture looking beautiful are:

Weekly: Dust with a soft cloth to keep your furniture dust-free.                         

Monthly: Vacuum with the brush attachment, vacuuming up all food crumbs beneath the cushions. These are abrasive and left for too long, will scratch and damage the leather on the underside of your cushion.

Every few months: Apply a premium leather cleaner with a soft cloth or sponge. Leave on for a few hours.   Wipe excess off with a soft cloth in a circular motion. This will give your leather a lustrous shine and provide a protective finish.  


Stain prevention is the best way to keep your leather furniture looking new for years. To prevent staining, fading or scorching, keep your leather furniture out of direct sunlight, and away from cooking areas and heat sources.   Close your blinds or curtains during the sunny part of the day. Avoid smoking on or near your leather to avoid burns and smoke stains. Cover your furniture for high risk activities, such as polishing your nails, gluing, coloring with ink pens or paints, feeding or changing a baby, eating greasy foods or drinking colorful punch (especially with unfinished leather). 

Because leather is porous and stains easily, the most important of leather cleaning tips is to IMMEDIATELY clean up spills using a leather-specific cleaner. Tougher stains might need a different approach.    To remove bubble gum, dry with a hair dryer until gum is completely dried out. Gently remove with a clean, white cloth. Follow up with a leather conditioner.   For the next few leather cleaning solutions, test first in a small, inconspicuous area, since some can remove the dye in your furniture along with the stain. To remove mold or mildew mix together equal parts isopropyl alcohol and water, spray onto moldy area, and gently wipe with a clean, white cloth. Continue to rotate cloth to clean spots as it gets dirty (you may need a few cloths for large jobs). Allow to dry away from the sun.  For ink or nail polish, pour acetone-free nail polish remover directly onto a clean, white cloth. Blot gently over stain, rotating cloth to avoid re-depositing the stain. Hairspray also works great on ink and other more difficult stains. Spray right on soiled area, gently wipe,  repeat until the stain is gone. Toothpaste is a great abrasive stain remover when your stain calls for it. Apply directly onto the stain, gently rub it in,  then clean off.   Avoid using this on high-gloss leather as it will scratch.  

With a these easy leather cleaning tips, a little elbow grease and an ounce of prevention,  you will ensure a long, beautiful life for your leather furniture!

Home Staging: Cutting Edge Interior Design Tips for Selling

New techniques for marketing houses, fresh, new interior design home staging ideas, will help sell your home faster, and for a higher price than the competition.

What do home buyers want? They want a home that meets their needs. However, they’ll eventually buy the home that makes them FEEL happy and will impress their friends, because they also want to be proud of the home they’ve chosen. Your choice of decorating colors, patterns, textures, and furnishings will influence the way a prospective buyer feels, and the buyer’s feelings will impact their choice of housing.

Home Staging with Design Psychology, unlike traditional interior design, brings into play:

* Color instead of bland white walls

* Furnishings for feelings

* Props to entice buyers

COLORS help you sell your home to your target market. One mistake many real estate agents make is to tell sellers to paint everything white. White may look clean, but it does little to make a buyer feel as if they “just can’t live without the home.” White walls also don’t create cheerful feelings, and even worse, white walls don’t make most people look good. Buyers will ultimately buy the home that makes them feel happy while making them look great at the same time.

As for FURNISHINGS, use cozy-snuggly pieces in cooler weather and fewer furnishings during hot, steamy months, in order to encourage a buyer’s emotional response. When a buyer sees your home as a sanctuary from the hectic and harsh world, you’ll sell that home.

PROPS include things such as paintings, to add depth and make the rooms feel bigger, and flowers or plants, in the right emotional colors for the season.

Costs of Transforming Your Home into a Buyer’s Dream House

Most home sellers can invest about $500 to spruce up their home for a quick sale, and a little paint and a little sweat will go a long way. To save some money, check out Restore, which is Habitat for Humanity’s thrift store, for building supplies. They carry “oops paint” and lighting fixtures for next to nothing. If you decide to replace carpeting, appliances, and other big ticket items, transformation costs for completely going through a house can cost up to $8,000 for an average home.

Home Staging to Sell Faster for More Money

Always consider your target market and their emotional needs. First-time buyers want shelter and security, while move-up buyers desire prestige and peace. After you’ve cleaned and shined your home, set the stage. Add a few props, carefully selected to encourage a prospective buyer’s desired emotions and paying special attention to happiness, joy, serenity, and security. Putting a little extra effort into the marketing your home will pay off with a faster sale and a bigger paycheck at closing.

Copyright © 2014 Jeanette J. Fisher