Category Archive: Furniture

Richelieu ERGO Workstation

If you’re like many of us, you go back and forth about whether or not to get a traditional desk or a new standing desk. There are also a number of sturdy and fashionable convertible desks that allow you to transition from one to the other.

But what if you didn’t have to buy a new desk to convert from sit to stand? What if you could, using your existing desk, transition just your workstation?

The Richelieu ERGO Sit2Stand allows you to do just that. It adds 18″ of vertical height to your workstation, has a great cable management system, and a small footprint on your existing desk. Check it out.

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Local Flair, Global Reach

IMG_9623We make no secret of our love for our Richmond home. It’s a great town. Over the last 15+ years we’ve made great relationships and great friends. We’re able to work with local groups and organizations to make Richmond an even greater place to live, work, and play. It’s fun.

We’re also huge fans of small businesses. That’s why our local customers enjoy our delivery services. We offer over 32,000 items, require no minimum order, and offer next-day delivery. Often with freshly baked cookies. 🙂 This works great for them, and as they grow, we’re there for them.

But that isn’t all that we do.

When someone is outfitting a big office, we can handle that. Need desks for your 200-person call center? No problem. 25 pallets of paper? We’ll load a truck. We can handle your needs whatever the size of your office.

One of our relationships is with the U.S. Government. In the photo above are two pallets wrapped for shipping. The one on the left is getting ready to be shipped to Miami, where it will board a boat headed to Havana, Cuba. We’ve been helping to stock our newest U.S. Embassy there. The one on the right will travel to Norfolk, Virginia, board a container ship, and then sail to Cairo, Egypt to replenish our embassy there.

If you need basic office supplies, furniture for 200, or cleaning supplies 3,000 miles away – we can help. Just ask, and we’ve got you covered.

Anything? Anything.

When people discover us for the first time, they generally look at our name, Ball Office Products, and think pens and paper. We certainly have that covered.

We call this one "Indiana Ball and the Lost Temple of Copy Paper."

We call this one “Indiana Ball and the Lost Temple of Copy Paper.”

But we offer so much more. We’ve sent desks and chairs to a school in Africa. We’ve helped scores of clients design better, more effective offices. We’ve delivered toys and art supplies to children in programs throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

We wrote last week about a great Keurig deal. We can build that into a complete beverage program for your business. Need snacks for your break room? We can do that. Cleaning supplies? No problem. Something funky for your office kids? How about a clever chair?

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Just after Thanksgiving, we got a call from a client who had been put in charge of decorating her office for the holidays. She was pressed for time and didn’t know where to start. We got her a tree, a tree skirt, delivered it, and set it up with all of the decorations and trimmings. Because that’s what we do.

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Anything for your office needs? Anything.

About Your Standing Desk

For decades (and perhaps longer), mankind has known that a bit of physical activity is good for you. A couple of years ago, and in a growing movement, researchers began pointing to the ill effects of spending too much time on one’s behind. They looked at rates of disease and spinal health and whatnot.

Newspapers and magazines, no doubt in an effort to inform the public, loudly announced that “Sitting is Killing You!” Reputable publications, including TIME Magazine, proclaimed that “sitting is the new smoking.”

Wait just a minute.

Science indeed found that sitting too much leads to obesity, heart disease, and maybe even a shorter lifespan. But that was all sitting – at work, watching television, eating, driving, etc. Suddenly everyone was in the market for a standing desk. But simply buying a new desk and lurching to your feet missed the broader mark.

Moving.

A century ago, we routinely stood at work. As a result, we had problems with our feet, constant backaches, bad joints, and a workforce of varicose veins. In a mad rush of innovation, we designed plush office chairs, ergonomic wonders of sitting, and somewhere along the way decided that a large blow-up ball meant for yoga was equally at home under our rear end and in front of our keyboard.

Sure, standing instead of sitting burns a few more calories, but not as much as taking the stairs. Standing and burning calories may help fight obesity-related illnesses, but not as much as putting down that extra donut. It’s the actual moving around that does the trick.

And when will this debate end? There’s a company that has designed a chair that will allow you to convert from sitting to standing to lying down with the push of a lever.

That’s right. Lying down.

As study after study details the benefits of a good night’s sleep and proper rest, another company created a convertible desk that features a hidden compartment with a mattress for a mid-day slumber. We won’t allow that here at Ball Office Products.

Hat_LumaLongR-lgOur suggestion is to take a look at our partner Trendway. They offer a line of adjustable tables. Want to sit? Sit. Need to stretch a bit? Raise the desk up and stand. No napping, and you can’t lie down unless you empty your inbox.

In the meantime, move around a bit. Eat a salad. Do something other than watch television. And leave your desk alone.

First Impressions

A friend of ours just came back from a short trip to Asheville, North Carolina. If you’ve not been, go. It’s a lovely town.

A highlight of any trip is a visit to the Grove Park Inn. This resort and conference center is now part of the Omni chain, and is truly a spectacle. Opened in July of 1913, it shows why so many selected Asheville as the go-to retreat from summer heat in the South. They do a Sunday Brunch that’s not to be believed. Rooms and rooms of every sort of food imaginable, and the dining room offers stunning views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

The true highlight, however, is just walking into the lobby. The architecture is Craftsman style, with nods to Frank Lloyd Wright. The cavernous space is scattered with groupings of comfortable leather chairs, sofas, and occasional tables. Each end of the lobby is dominated by an enormous fireplace; large enough to accommodate an 8-foot log. They are so big that one actually houses an elevator that rises up the side of the chimney.

It’s breathtaking.

We also talked to another friend who was in the market for a new dentist. They decided to visit a few practices to see what sort of fit this particular DDS might make for them. The first one they dropped in on, however, quickly removed themselves from consideration. The reception area was poorly lit, with cheap plastic chairs, was in need of a good dusting, and certainly would have benefitted from a bit of artwork to brighten things up.

First impressions are important, aren’t they?

DARRAN_Central Park Reception_01When a client or customer walks into your business, what do you want them to think of your operation? That you’re crisp and professional? That you’re warm and inviting? Either way, your lobby or reception area should say that you’re serious about your business, about their needs, and you’re a professional. The design should intuitively point them towards a reception area or whatever information brought them to you – you don’t want them wandering around. Organization is crucial. If your business receives daily packages or products, the reception area is not where you want them to live. Lighting should be ample, but not overwhelming. If seating is appropriate, make it comfortable. You may not need comfortable leather chairs and giant fireplaces, but make them feel welcomed.

One of our favorite vendors is DARRAN. They offer the Central Park Collection for reception areas. While it’s crisp and professional, the rounded seating and earthy colors make it very inviting. It says, “Step right in. We’ve been expecting you.”

That’s a good first impression.

The High Value of Art

11406726_992067750827888_8059345009451957229_oIf you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen a painting we have hanging in our big meeting room. It’s this colorful gorilla. He has a sort of peaceful expression, which reminds us that not everything needs to be a conflict or argument. He also reminds us that a quiet strength can help us be a better company. With his shock of orange hair, he’s also sort of funny. So there’s that.

An office can be a somewhat sterile place. You can jazz things up with some playful color, like with these Feek pieces from Trendway. But a simple way to influence the mood of your office is with artwork.

Like our gorilla, artwork can inspire creativity and passion about something. Portraits of heroes or landscapes can help workers set goals. They have an image to emulate. Artwork can also inspire feelings of confidence in your staff, and more importantly, your clients. When you walk into your local garage, what do you see? Pictures of sports cars. A doctor’s office or therapist likely has artwork featuring happy, smiling families.

When you choose your artwork, there are a few factors to take into account. First and foremost, while something thought-provoking might be fine, there’s a thin line between that and offensive. Secondly, think about where you display your art. If you’re a travel agent, putting images of enchanted islands in your restroom might not do you much good. When designing for your staff, your artwork should be readily visible while they’re working. Artwork for your clients should inspire your desired emotions while they interact with you.

Think about color, also. Earth tones provoke calm feelings while orange, like our gorilla’s hair, inspire energy. More public health facilities are using pastels, as they promote serenity. And did you ever wonder why restaurants seem to love red? Red makes you hungry.

Lastly, what’s your budget like? It would be nice to display a Van Gogh or Rembrandt to impress your friends, but we imagine most of you don’t have that kind of petty cash laying around. You don’t however, have to break the bank to spruce up your wall space. One of our vendor partners is Great American Art. They’re pretty passionate about creating an awesome atmosphere with some artwork, and reasonably priced. They also have a ton of different genres and styles, and something for almost every office environment.

Don’t ask about the gorilla, though. He’s not for sale.

 

Whimsy From Trendway

We’ve had a long and fruitful partnership with Trendway Office Furniture. We admire them for their classic styles, clean lines, and the amazing craftsmanship of their products. We’re also proud to be an exclusive Trendway dealer for Central Virginia. Their values and mission closely mirror ours here at Ball Office Products, so working with them is like peas and carrots.

Trendway also likes to have fun and inject a bit of whimsy into static office environments. These two short videos highlight two of our favorite Trendway products – Feek and the Zego Chair. Have a look and consider how Ball Office Products and Trendway can create some color and playfulness in your office.

More Than Pencils

When we meet people out and about they inevitably ask, “So, what do you do?” We smile and proudly tell them, “We’re Ball Office Products.” The response to that can vary wildly from person to person.

“Oh, you mean like desks and chairs?” Yes, we carry those.

“So you sell pencils and paper?” Yes, we carry those also.

Many people, however, are amazed at the scope of what we carry.

Office furniture is certainly a huge part of our inventory. But we’re not content to offer amazing products from fantastic manufacturers like Trendway. We  help our customers pick just the right collection to meet their needs. We help them furnish offices, meeting spaces, reception areas, and break rooms. Our team gladly supplies 2D or 3D design planning, with no obligation, so that you’ll see what your finished workspace will look like. Our drivers will deliver your furniture, set it up, and leave you delicious cookies.

Sure, we also sell pens and pencils and paper. But we also sell everything else that you could possible need to run an office or business. Would you like custom printed items with your logo, for either staff members or to leave with clients? We can provide those. Finding yourself routinely running out of things? We can help you to manage your inventory. We have cleaning supplies and janitorial equipment and small electronics and more. We recently shared photos of some toys that came through the warehouse. One of the groups that we enjoy working with is the Department of Juvenile Justice. We send them these things for use in rehabilitation sessions for youngsters. IMG_0256

Interested in some office snacks? In addition to coffee and beverage programs, we supply people with snacks from such names as Nabisco and Snyder’s. We recently started carrying what we consider our new favorite BEST SNACK EVER. Tastes like a Graham Cracker – shaped like a Pretzel. They’re Hansel’s Gretzels, and they’re to die for.

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Desks and chairs? Sure. Over 200 furniture lines from the world’s best manufacturers. Pencils and paper? Over 32,000 different items. But we provide solutions. Our team at Ball Office Products have helped people start their business with the right look and right supplies, helped them grow, and helped them relocate. We don’t just sell the products – we help you put them to productive use. Be it a school, an established business, a government office, or a rehabilitation program – we want to be your partner.

Ball Office: Local Flavor, International Reach

You may recall our post last week about our home in Richmond, Virginia. We love it here. We’re from the area, and Ball Office has called it home base for 15 years now. You’d like it, too.

We also consider ourselves an integral part of our community. We went to great lengths to get certifications as a Small Women and Minority Owned Business and from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Melissa Ball, our owner, has long been a partner and member of the Richmond Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. We’re also active with a number of philanthropic organizations and non-profits. It’s what we do.

But we don’t limit ourselves to Central Virginia. We’ve done work with the U.S. Military, and they’ve moved our products almost everywhere we have troops, both in the United States and overseas. It takes a mountain of paperwork to move an army, and that means desks, chairs, staples, and even cleaning supplies.

We help supply the Federal Government with supplies, furniture and equipment. They use it to outfit their offices across the country.

If you follow us on social media, you may have seen the photo below. It is one of several pallets that are currently on their way to Havana, Cuba. It’s cleaning supplies and staples for what will become our newest United States Embassy overseas.

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We also work with NGOs and foreign government to help them meet their needs. We recently sent enough chairs (very similar to the ones below) to outfit a new elementary school in Ghana.

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Again, you would like it here in Richmond. We’d love for you to come by some time. But really, it doesn’t matter where you are. We can come to you.

Pushing Paper

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 2.27.03 PMIf you’re like most businesses, you no doubt deal with a good bit of paperwork. There are bills, invoices, work orders, and bills. More and more offices are striving to become “paper-free.” You know – save a tree. But bills, invoices, work orders, and bills still make that a nearly impossible task. And much of the information contained in this paperwork is pretty important, and perhaps contains sensitive information about your business. So how do you store and protect this information?

HON makes a handy little filing cabinet called the Embark. It has wheels on it, so you can move it about, and the counterweight is made from 100% recycled materials. Now you won’t have to feel so bad about the trees you killed to create the paper you’re storing. It also has a handy little lock, and this lock can be easily swapped out. So, should you lose an employee under less than ideal circumstances, your missile launch codes will remain safe.

We work a good bit with Trendway, and they have a huge line of shelves and storage cabinets. They also come with a variety of safety and locking features.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 2.27.36 PMAnother option is to just shred it. Everyone has seen a movie or television program where the hero painstakingly tapes a shredded document back together to reveal the identity of the killer, but that’s not reality. Should you actually be storing missile launch codes, you may have some concern. Most of your documents are probably too mundane to warrant such a tape-up job. Most nefarious types likely last the patience or fortitude to take on the task.

We sell staplers. One of the most popular is the classic Swingline. Swingline also has a robust line of commercial shredders. One of our favorites is the Stack and Shred. You can load this baby with 300 sheets and just press play. It will turn you documents, staples, and paper clips into mulch while you work. It will even shred credit cards and DVD’s with ease. Best of all, you can lock the paper tray with a 4-digit PIN number. That way your information will be safe while you’re waiting to fill the tray.

So think about how and where you store that pile of important paperwork. It may not be launch codes, but it’s important to you.