Office business marks 20th anniversary

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Specialized Office Services has more than 600 customers

By Jim Obert

Business Today

In 1973, Brad Eggimann and Ed Dow met while working for the A.B. Dick Products Co. in Cape Girardeau. The company, which sold and serviced A.B. Dick office products as well as providing printing and stationary services, was owned by the notable Naeter brothers.

When the firm went out of business, officials with A.B. Dick Products approached Eggimann and Dow and asked them to take over distribution of their office equipment. They agreed and started Specialized Office Services in a 500-square-foot building at the south end of the city.

The original building was torn down several years ago to make room for the new Mississippi River bridge, but the business has been operating out of a 4,000-square-foot building on Kingshighway since 1991.

Specialized Office Services has been an authorized dealer for Konica copiers and printers since 1984.

"People tend to jump around a bit when it comes to copiers," said Dow. "When you stay with a major vendor like we have, customers can see the confidence we put in what we sell."

Eggimann said Specialized has started selling supplies for competitive copiers, printers and fax machines. Those supplies, he said, can be shipped the next day, regardless of the brand.

Five years ago there were 178 printing operations in a 75-mile radius of Cape. Now, due to consolidation and other factors, there are about 150, but Eggimann and Dow continue to deal with a large percentage of them. They sell equipment, supplies and technical service.

Major local customers include Kwik Copy, PDQ Quality Printing, Concord Publishing, ASC Printing & Promotions, Gemini Printing, Custom Graphics and Cape Printing.

With more than 600 customers, Specialized has 11 employees and keeps its seven sales and service vehicles road-ready. The company's coverage area includes Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky.

"We do repairs here, but the majority of repairs are done on-site," said Eggimann, adding that he and Dow are available for consultation concerning duplicating and printer requirements.

The digital duplicators that made such a big splash a few years ago maintain a niche in the market, but digital high-speed copiers are what most business now prefer.

"Digital duplicators are still used in a lot of schools and churches where quality is not as important as overall budget," said Eggimann. "But we have copiers that run up to 150 pages per minute."

The business handles equipment that folds, inserts, staples, collates, sorts and binds, and custom mixes inks from 17 basic colors. Ink sells by the 1- and 5-pound cans -- up to 25,000 impressions can be made from a 1-pound can of ink.

Eggimann and Dow say their Konica digital, high-speed copiers and printers offer increased office productivity and decreased operating costs over older, analog machines.

The Konica copier line has the option of adding printing, faxing, scanning and email capabilities

Konica also has a new Simitri toner, which Eggimann calls "a big advance in the copying industry. It makes very fine dots and lowers the cost of operations."

Specialized also markets name-brand toners for other copiers, fax machines and printers.

According to Eggimann, many area print shops and communications departments use A.B. Dick office products. The company recently acquired Multigraphics, which has expanded its product offering from 5,000 to 25,000 printing-related products.

Specialized is also the area's dealer for Baum folders and MBM paper-handling equipment.

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