Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Story of a Pen at Piazza Office Supply


I’ve always had a strong, but strange relationship with the ink pen. Its color and design, feel of the stem in my hands and smoothness of the ink as it paints words on the page all affect my writing. Sadly, there is nothing that excites me more than unopened box of ballpoints.

“Every pen has its own story,” says Ed Piazza, co-owner and manager of Piazza Office Supply in Abbeville. “The Frixion is an erasable pen that uses friction to erase instead of an eraser.”

Piazza is well familiar with the evolution of pens because he grew up in the office supply industry. His father, Paul Piazza, opened the first Piazza Office Supply store in 1949. There are now branches in Kaplan, Rayne, and Abbeville, where the family also owns a Radio Shack.

“I started pushing a broom around the store when I was ten,” says Ed Piazza. “So many things have changed over the years. We don’t sell little bottles of ink anymore because people stopped writing with quills.”

Piazza Office Supply sells office machinery like photocopiers, fax machines and printers, furniture like chairs, desks, bookcases and coffee tables, and office and school supplies like paper, pens, pencils, stencils, staplers, scissors, and everything else needed in an office or classroom.

“The hardest part of managing a business is maintaining your presence,” says
Piazza. “The best part is getting out and meeting people. I love visiting my customers.”

Services of Piazza Office Supply include bulk copying, and shipping via U.P.S. On-staff repairmen service photocopiers, fax machines and printers. Full-time sales representatives consult on the proper equipment and furniture needed to set up a new office.

“My advice to someone who wants to start their own business is to take it slow,” says Piazza. “You have to constantly juggle all aspects of the organization. You can’t let it overwhelm you.”

I visited Piazza Office Supply in Abbeville recently to find out about the industry. It was my first time meeting Ed Piazza, but it only took a few minutes for me to realize that he was a shrewd businessman. When I couldn’t find my mechanical pencil for the interview, the salesman generously offered to sell me a new one.

I have been in this branch many times and enjoy shopping there for several reasons. One is that there is usually a parking spot right out front. Two, they sell individual envelopes as well as boxed ones. Three, their photocopies are only five cents for single and small print runs.

Since my time was limited when previously visiting Piazza Office Supply, I never had a chance to look through their product line. They have many of the items you’d expect to find like office machines, furniture and supplies, but also carry gifts like cookbooks, paperweights, umbrellas and picture frames.

The section that fascinated me the most was the pen aisle. There are ballpoints, felt tips, gels, needle-points and calligraphy utensils. Dr. Grip describes itself as the prescription for writing fatigue, and The Uniball Gel Signa is considered the pen of bankers because its non-transferable ink helps prevent check fraud.

“The Bottle 2 Pen is made from recycled plastic bottles,” said Piazza. “Our best selling pen is the Pilot G2. It’s hard to keep it on the shelf.”

Piazza stood with me in the pen aisle as I gave many of them a test drive. He showed me the latest advancements in ballpoint technology, and even gave me a Jetstream pen. Black and silver in color, and not too thin or thick, it wrote smoothly and effortlessly.

The fourth and foremost reason that I often shop at Piazza Office Supply is because of their customer service. Whenever my body enters the store, someone always offers to help. The salesperson knows the product and spends time with me. Even if only to sell me a mechanical pencil, or share the story of a pen.

For more information on the products and services offered by Piazza Office Supply, call 337-893-0807.


1 comment:

BellaFitz said...

For me, it's the paper. Stationery trips my trigger.