Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 91


OMAHA PAPER CO.

Omaha Paper Co. is ready to expand it's territory from the
200-miles around Omaha to the entire country.

important things you can have on your
website," Robert Powell says. The company also sees the website as a source
of specialized information for the customers. Omaha Paper Co. plans to feature product and training videos to help
customers find, and teach them how to
properly use the right products for their
individual needs.
Traditionally, Omaha Paper Co.'s sales
territory has been a 200-mile radius
around its headquarters in Omaha, Neb.
With the advent of the new website and
e-commerce capabilities, Robert Powell
expects the company will grow its sales
across the country. "It has the most potential to transform our company in the
future," he adds.

A FAMILY OPERATION
Robert and Kevin Powell's father, Dave,
purchased a janitorial company with three
partners in 1962. The company was originally a janitorial supply business, but the

owners came from a printing paper background. The partners later changed the
businesses focus to supporting the printing
industry and Omaha Paper Co. was born.
As the years went on, two of Dave Powell's
partners retired and the third passed away.
Robert Powell joined the company as a
salesperson in 1982. One day in the early
'90s, he inadvertently learned his father
was trying to sell the company. Robert felt
the business still had a lot of promise and
had a good management team in place. He
convinced his father not to sell the company and in 2001 Robert and Kevin Powell
purchased the business.
Like any successful family business, the
Powell brothers must take care not to bring
family issues into the company and to keep
open communication with one another.
Two years ago, Kevin Powell became concerned after hearing his brother Robert
Powell wanted to hire his son A.J., a recent
college graduate, for a sales position. . Neither of the brothers had plans to groom

their children for future roles, and Kevin
Powell was concerned that A.J. was being
hired without his knowledge. But Robert
Powell was just as surprised as his brother. He figured his son preferred the surfing
weather of California to the flats of Nebraska and didn't know anything about the
hiring. As it turns out, the company's sales
manager, Jeff Book, had offered A.J. Powell
the job on his own.
"In a family owned business you have to
be on the same page," Robert Powell says.
"Kevin is one of the best partners I could
have." The two split many of the company's
duties. Robert Powell handles the management side and runs the day-to-day operations, while his brother prefers finding new
products, meeting with customers and developing new business segments.
As a family company, Omaha Paper
Co. feels a strong connection to its hometown. The company works to give back to
its community by participating in Salvation Army initiatives and supporting the
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016

Contents
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover2
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 1
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Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover3
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