Two new faces on the historic Independence Square are Mark Whitlow and Shambrae Starr.
They recently bought Desk Top Office Products, 101 S. Main St., from Jim and Greta Alexander, who retired.
“We bought the business; not the building,” stated Whitlow.
“Perhaps in the future we will buy the building. It was through a mutual vendor that I found out that the Alexanders wanted to sell the business.”
You may know Mark Whitlow already. For the past 18 years he has been the owner of K&M Office Products, 1117 Valley Ridge Drive, Blue Springs, and he will continue this business.
“We have always concentrated in the Blue Springs, Grain Valley and eastward areas and just never pushed into Independence,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Starr stated they plan to build on the relationships that the Alexanders started. “I am very impressed with the support of the community for small business owners and want to thank everyone who attended our ribbon-cutting on Friday.”
Desk Top will sell office supplies as well as office designs.
“We offer a personal touch whether it’s for a $5 or $500 order,” stated Whitlow. “At Desk Top you can find office furniture, office space design, cleaning and break room products. Most items can be delivered free the next day.”
Whitlow stated that 90 percent of their office furniture line is Hon, with additional options from RFM Seating and newly added Lorell Furniture.
Whitlow stated a goal is to increase business at Desk Top from $500,000 to $1.5 million over the next two years.
There are currently three full-time employees at Desk Top and three at K&M Office Products.
The first floor of the building is about 4,000 square feet. The front is about 3,000 square feet filled with office supplies and office furniture. The rear, or about 1,000 square feet, is for warehouse and administrative. Future possibilities lie upstairs with about 4,000 square feet, where there is a fireplace, iron columns and an ornate copper ceiling.
“The building has a history. I have a 1902 photograph when it was a drug store,” stated Starr. “It was also a grocery store. We would certainly like to know more about the history of the building.”
Good business benefits all
“We want to get out into the community,” she said. “We aren’t one of those ‘box’ stores. The money spent at our store stays in the community. We are very involved in programs to keep the money ‘within the circle.’”
“And it’s great to see a resurgence of small businesses in the area,” added Whitlow. “If business is good, than the value of your house remains stable, education, streets and parks, and the quality of life are all benefits from a strong business base.”
Both owners are local folks. Whitlow is a graduate of Blue Springs High School, attended the University of Missouri and has worked in the office supply industry most of his life. Starr was born in Independence, graduated from Wellington High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Lindenwood College.
Whitlow is also a board member of the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, supporter of the Buy Blue Springs Program, and a member of the Grain Valley Assistance program. He is the owner of Building Blocks Day Care in Grain Valley where Starr is the director. Whitlow brings his sense of community to Independence and recently joined the Independence Chamber of Commerce and plans to become a Rotarian. Starr is planning on joining the Kiwanis Club of Independence and the Square Association. These are active folks, and we are glad to have them in the community.
source : www.examiner.netDetails :
Submited at Saturday, January 8th, 2011 at 6:00 am on Uncategorized by robert
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