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Stationery Firm Eyes New Markets

Company Name: Discounted Office Supplies
Company Contact: Roger and Chris Hunt
Sector: Services

Growing the family business by entering new markets is the aim of two brothers who recently took over the reins to their Fife-based family firm set up by their father 26 years ago. Roger and Chris Hunt will add a packaging division and launch an updated website with e-commerce capabilities in April to help cement Dalgety Bay-based Discounted Office Supplies reputation as a responsive and adaptable company.

The duo, who have tapped into advice from Business Gateway Fife, also aim to grow both the company’s office furniture and janitorial supplies divisions over the next 12 months; and will welcome the next generation to the team when Roger’s step-daughter, Eilidh, joins as trainee office manager in April.  Roger said: “There are hundreds of office supply firms out there but our customers, many of whom have been with us for over 20 years, like the fact we are a local family business that responds quickly to their needs no matter how unorthodox their request may be - we’ve sourced everything from marmalade to toilet seats over the years. 

“Being adaptable is central to our success. Two years ago Chris delivered to a restaurant in Edinburgh who had been a stationery customer for a number of years and realised there was an opportunity to supply them with janitorial goods which saw their monthly spend with us rise from £100 to £1,300 overnight.

“Over the next year we aim to double our turnover in both janitorial supplies and office furniture and add a new packaging arm to our offering that will increase our revenue further. Eilidh’s introduction will keep family at our core and will free up more of my time to focus on growing the business.”

He added: “Taking over the firm from our dad, Frank, who stepped down at the ripe old age of 73 is a real honour. When we were planning for his retirement we went to Business Gateway and our adviser got us thinking differently. She helped highlight how important a clear business growth strategy would be and as a result we have decided to develop a new website although we never want to lose the personal touch that selling face-to-face brings, we know that an e-commerce site will attract new customers from across Fife, Edinburgh and West Lothian.”

Sam Greer, Adviser, Business Gateway said: “When I sat down with Roger and Chris I could see they were hungry to grow and develop the business further. We quickly identified the strengths of their brand and opportunities available to them. They have now converted a junior part time staff member into their first full time employee whose skills in SEO and web development will dramatically improve their online trading.”
Set up in 1989 by Frank Hunt, the business was initially home based and focused on selling snacks to local businesses.  He quickly realised that he could easily fulfil his customer’s stationary needs and with the help of his sons, Roger, who came on board in 1995, and Chris, who started shortly afterwards, grew the business ensuring his customer’s needs were always meet.

Roger said: “Our father could always spot an opportunity and was happy to supply clients with whatever they needed. We quickly became the first port of call for our customers whenever they were looking for something, not just stationary. I made sales calls from my bedroom and Chris had the fax machine in his room; the garage was our warehouse and dad made deliveries in the van. 

“As we became more successful we needed more storage space so moved to a warehouse in South Queensferry, then to a bigger unit in Inverkeithing before moving to our present location in Ridgeway, Dalgety Bay nine years ago. 

“We are very proud of what our father has managed to achieve. Keeping a business afloat through recessions and increased competition is no mean feat; and we hope that we will be able to steer the ship as successfully as he has.”

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