Redmond-based Keeney’s Office Plus recently won The Port of Seattle’s first annual Small Business Champion award.
Keeney’s joined the Port’s small business initiative in 2005, serving a single Port department. Through their demonstrated commitment to customer service and cost control, they soon were working with all of the Port’s major departments.
President Lisa Keeney McCarthy, whose parents started the company in Bellevue in 1947, said they’ve lasted 62 years by remaining steadfast in their personal approach.
Redmond oldtimers will remember the Keeney’s retail store on Redmond Way, which sold school and home office supplies, as well as products aimed at businesses. The store closed in 2004. The company now concentrates on business-to-business sales through catalogs, its Web site and visits from sales representatives.
There’s a laid-back vibe at their Redmond headquarters at 15020 NE 95th St. Employees proudly post baby and puppy pictures on the walls and “everybody does sales here,” Keeney McCarthy emphasized.
More than just an effort to really know products and the people who use them, what appeals to Keeney’s customers is flexibility regarding “methods of billing and how to place orders,” said general manager Steven Sterne. “The process can be more significant than the products themselves.”
Account executive Krista Sweeney agreed, “Time-saving is big. Price is just a part of it. We can do next-day delivery with no minimums. … We definitely show them we can save them money and time by providing the right product and right quantities. If you want just five of something, it’s not like the big box stores where you have to buy the whole case. … We build relationships with customers. It’s very high-touch and personal.”
Gaining customer trust is crucial, said Keeney McCarthy, because “people ordering office supplies often are low on the totem pole. They get slammed with e-mails or notes on their desks all day. We’re problem solvers, we take the pressure off them.”
Sterne added, “With 24,000 items in our catalog, not everyone knows every product, but we’ll make some calls, find the right guy to supply the right product. We care a lot about our customers and each other.”
Keeney’s Office Plus cares about the local economy and environment, too. The company’s Sustainability Statement describes how they shop locally, re-use and recycle shipping and warehouse supplies, have taken steps to burn less fuel and electricity and consolidated deliveries to decrease the times that their trucks are out on the road.
For information about Keeney’s Office Plus’ business-to-business products and services, call (425) 869-7555 or visit www.keeneysop.com.