Category Archive: General

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.

Meet Some People

We’re fortunate to have a pretty strong team here at Ball Office Products. From some of our senior managers to the sales reps and even our warehouse crew – they’re a fun and dedicated bunch. Many of them have been with us for almost the entire 15 years that we’ve been in business. One thing that we all have in common is that we care about providing high quality products and service, and we want to be your ongoing partner. We work hard to preserve that relationship.

Most of our folks toil in the shadows. We thought it might be nice for you to meet a couple of people from the Ball team. One is Sidney Dodson. She’s in sales and handles a lot of our overseas accounts.

 

Next up is Elizabeth King. She’s our summer intern, and is finishing up an accounting degree at Longwood. She’s only here for the summer, but we love her. Perhaps after graduation she’ll become a more permanent member of our team? (Hint, hint)

Commitment

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 3.26.41 PMWe take our reputation pretty seriously. We’ve worked hard a providing amazing customer service, at developing a robust stock of great office products, and being a good employer. We suppose that our hard work has paid off, because we’ve been fortunate to call a good many of our customers “partners” for the better part of our 15 years in business. We’re proud of being family-owned, proud of being a woman-owned business, and proud that we have such a stable crew of amazing employees. We also firmly believe in being a part of the fabric of our community, and that means encouraging and advocating for other small businesses, for other women-owned businesses, and for Central Virginia’s economy. We’re all in it together. We’re also grateful for the opportunity to work with Hospital Hospitality House of Richmond. They provide a home-away-from-home for those in medical crisis. They’ve never turned anyone away for lack of money. What’s amazing is that while they’re the third-oldest such facility in America, they’re the largest that survives solely through donations. That’s awesome.

We also admire some of these same characteristics in many of our vendor-partners.

We’re the only Trendway dealer in Central Virginia. They make fantastic office furniture. Their employees are considered “employee-owners,” and it shows in the quality of their products and service. Like us, they believe in rolling up their sleeves and working in their community. They also jumped on the environmental bandwagon over 20 years ago. It takes a good bit of raw product to make furniture, and they want to preserve the resources to do that over the long haul.

You wouldn’t think that a huge corporation would take sustainability that seriously, but the folks at HP do. In their eyes, sustainability doesn’t stop with water and raw products. They work to sustain the communities linked to their business, the people helping them, and the businesses that support HP. They also believe in environmental stewardship, but that’s just part of the big picture. Support all – we all move forward. A rising tide lifts all boats, you know.

DARRAN is also one of our favorite vendors. They’re like us, too. They’re family-owned and woman-owned. They’ve got a great team building quality products, and also a firm believers in sustainability. They say, “In order to protect our environment for tomorrow, we have to take action today.” They have an entire page of commitments and certifications signifying their passion for this.

It’s more than just pencils and desks. It’s our partnership with you, our vendors, and our community. A rising tide…

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.

Having 2nd Thoughts About a Richmond Business?

Richmond_VirginiaWe worked in office supplies and furniture for over a decade before we decided to hang our own plaque as Ball Office Supplies. We never doubted that Richmond was where we wanted to base our business. The past 15 years have proved that to be a great decision.

There are some wonderful spots throughout the State to do business, and certainly larger cities further away that might prove better for expansion. With a city population of just over 217,000 and a regional footprint of just over 1.2 million people, it’s admittedly not the largest nut in the tree. So we thought we’d look at a few reasons why we chose it, and why you should call it home.

Richmond is Beautiful. We have historic homes. We have Monument Avenue. We have wonderful parks and open spaces. A couple of years ago, Outside Magazine named us the Best River Town in America. You can paddle and ski in the Upper James River, fish and kayak and wakeboard in the Lower James, and within the downtown skyline lies the best urban whitewater in North America.

We’re a Worldwide Destination. So said Frommer’s, one of the world’s most trusted travel books. They liked our breweries, our history, and booming restaurant scene. We were one of three U.S. destinations listed, and joined such cities as Bali, Rio de Janeiro, and Santo Domingo.

Richmond loves Businesses. Fortune ranked us high on a list of Best Places for Businesses and Careers, and Thumbtack (a recruiter and staffing company) called us one the 10 Best Places for Small Business. We have Fortune 500 companies, successful mid-sized businesses, and a host of up-and-coming startups.

We like youngsters. Men’s Journal noted our strong economy and easy living when they named us one of the 50 Best Places to Live in America.

Great for Young Professionals. Some of the same attributes cited by Forbes and Thumbtack lead Lincoln Properties to encourage folks to relocate to Richmond. We have a decent Mid-Atlantic climate, cool culture things like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and reasonable rents.

It’s a Summer Town. Going back to our great parks and outdoor spaces, American Express listed us Number One for Places to Visit in the Summer. Paddle on.

We’ve been fortunate over the past few decades to forge some great relationships with some great people. We’ve had the pleasure of being the vendor of choice for large businesses and small. We’ve set up single offices and outfitted dozens and dozens of cubicles. While some of those businesses have moved on, we continue to meet new clients every day. The relationships that we’ve built have led to not only continued business, but new partnerships that lead us forward.

Wouldn’t you love to be a part of this scene?

How to Green Your Office

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/officenow/2631530678/">Office Now</a> / <a href="http://foter.com/">Foter</a> / <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY</a>It’s practically summertime, so many of you will probably be spending more time outside. Taking in Mother Nature is a certain way to recharge your batteries a bit. You’re hopefully like us and want to leave Mother Nature a bit better off for your visit. When we go out we’re careful to leave nothing behind but footprints and often bring a bit of somebody else’s trash as well.

You can also make an impact when you’re at work.

As Americans, we like stuff. Lots of it. We have a tendency, however, to tire of our stuff and get rid of it at an alarming rate. Americans generate more trash than any other nation on Earth. In fact, around 4.6 pounds of it per person, per day.

We wrote recently about filing cabinets and protecting your paperwork. We talked about an awesome Swingline Shredder that we offer. Why not take that shredded paperwork and turn it into more paper? Recycling is a great way to reduce your environmental impact, and there are many companies that will come pick it up for you.

We would love to continue to sell you paper and for you to offer it up for recycling, but there is also the option of making more of your daily drudgery paper-free. So there’s that.

Do you know what else lends itself to recycling? Your old gadget. When we make computers and printers and phones and electronics we use some pretty nasty stuff. Your old gizmo is loaded with things like mercury and cadmium and nickel and other sorts of minerals that won’t break down in a landfill. Most counties and cities across Virginia offer regular Electronics Recycling Days. Let’s keep those things out of the trash as well.

How about adding a bit of greenery? We have a friend who could probably kill a plastic plant, but adding some plants to your office has a couple of immediate benefits. Some color in your office improves moods. It’s like painting walls bright colors. Plants are also natural filters. The take in the chemicals and toxins put off by your carpets and electronics and turn them into oxygen. That’s a good thing. Something you may not know is this: Plants have a natural process called “transpiration.” Plants absorb water from soil and the air, and then spit a bit of it back out into the air. This humidity actually helps cool the inside of a building, and enough greenery will lower your air conditioning costs.

How about that?

Lastly, turn it off.

Your computer isn’t processing invoices while you’re at home watching Shark Tank. Your calculator isn’t compounding interest while you sleep. When you leave for the day, look around at all of the electronics that can be turned off for the evening. And not put in sleep mode – actually turned off. They do nothing but suck up electricity and generate heat. And they’ll still be there for you in the morning.

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.

A Realistic Habitat

They say that zoo animals live better lives when zoos try to emulate a realistic environment. They are more intellectually active, eat better, live longer, and get more exercise. The same could be said for humans.

We’re doing some expansion work at Ball Office Products, and after consultation with leading zoologists and behavior analysts, have decided to build a simulated habitat for our sales staff. We hope that this will help with their behavior, and they’ll start eating better. Should you visit, however, we urge you to use caution. They are wildly unpredictable and notoriously difficult to work with.

 

Are You a Cubist?

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 4.36.03 PMHave you ever found one of your employees dozing off at their desk? Perhaps your office design is to blame. After all, the word cubicle comes from the Latin cubiculum, for bed chamber. So it’s created for sleeping.

Hundreds of years ago, people crowded into offices or counting houses. A law in 1526 declared that an office would be constructed wherever King Henry VIII happened to be, one of his clerks would drape a green cloth over a table, and from 8 in the morning until the King retired, the clerk would dutifully record the transactions of the realm. The ancient Egyptians had the imj-r ixt nbt nt ni-swt who would record all stores and transactions of the kingdom.

And then we decided that everyone needed a desk.

The first true office spaces were designed very much like a school room. An owner or manager would sit at the head of the room, often at an elevated desk, looking over rows of workers dutifully slaving over books and ledgers. In the late 1800s, Frederick Winslow Taylor, an engineer obsessed with efficiency, set about to redesign this setting. His offices massed workers together for better communication, with managers supervising from private offices, much like a factory.

Larkin Administration Building

Larkin Administration Building

In 1906, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Administration building of the Larkin Soap Company in Buffalo, New York. His office design featured an open atrium filled with rows of desks, with sunlight streaming through massive skylights onto the workers below. Management occupied offices lining the atrium, with balconies provided to supervise the clerks.

The 1960s saw the embrace of the Burolandschaft. This was a socialist German design that got rid of the cloistered offices of management, and put all workers together in a common room.

In 1967, designer Robert Propst created the “Action Office.” Modular, low panels provided each worker with a sense of privacy, while still allowing a certain level of communication. Each employee had the benefit (or curse, depending on your thinking) of their own personal space.

The Action Office, or Cube Farm, has become a poster child for blandness. Certainly, for many offices and applications it allows for just the right mix of privacy and collaboration. But in nefarious hands…

It should not be surprising that many progressive companies are taking a step back. As we saw with the design of the new Facebook headquarters, collaboration and personal interaction are important elements of an efficient workplace. Even organizations that rely on a traditional executive structure are taking pains to incorporate features and designs that embrace, encourage, and often force interaction between workers. Apple historically located their restrooms such that you had to mingle with your co-workers if you needed to wee.

Trig by Treadway

Trig by Treadway

We work with a couple of manufacturers that actually take it a step further. Inscape creates workstations that allow for a bit of privacy, but several workers share the same space. They create their privacy with the use of cubes, cabinets, and movable panels. Trendway has a product called the Trig. Two desks, two cabinets, two chairs, but one workstation.

So Cube Farm or Open Sesame? What’s your preferred design?

30 Days Until Squirrels Time!

Ah. Crack of the bat. Cracker Jacks. Hey Batter Batter.

We’re baseball fans here at Ball Office Products, and especially of Richmond’s Flying Squirrels. They’re pretty anxious to kick off their 2015 season, and we’re excited about going to some home-town games. So it was a real treat when they stopped by the office yesterday and asked us to kick off their countdown to opening day. The entire Ball Office team gathered to show our support.