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Billings Business

If you can imagine an office supply business without a single box of paperclips or box of Sharpie markers sitting in a warehouse, you've captured the idea behind Simply Office Supplies.

The Bozeman company works to keep costs low by relying on a concept known as just-in-time inventory control. Simply Office Supplies avoids the expense involved in storing, insuring and maintaining large quantities of paper, pens, folders, ink cartridges and other office products by ordering directly from suppliers and then delivering the products directly to the business community.

"The suppliers deliver it to us overnight, and in the morning we make our deliveries directly to our customers," said Charles Schwier, the company's chief financial officer. He and his wife, Esther, bought Bolton's Office Express, a traditional office supply store, in 2003, but they decided to revamp the business to help cut costs and offer better prices.

Simply Office Supplies deals only with business clients and serves Bozeman, Butte and the surrounding area. The average sale is $150 per customer, Schwier said.

"We have developed a very nice broad customer base," Schwier said. "We handle everything from small businesses to very large accounts such as cities and school districts."

Simply Office Supplies has been working to expand its territory by offering franchise opportunities in Billings.

Schwier said he's looking for franchisees who are well-organized and capable of dealing with the demands of a fast-growing company. People wishing more information on franchising should send an e-mail to charles@simplyofficesupplies.com or send a fax to 406-587-4636.

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