Ables-Land Profile

 

 

 Company name

 Ables-Land Inc

 Address

 420 South Frannin, Tyler, Texas

 Contact Numbers

 903 593 8407

 Products and Services

 Printing, office supplies and office furniture

 Territory

 East Texas

 No of employees

 35

 Contact names and positions

 Co-owners: Gary and Julie Ables

 Founded

 1963

 Mission

 Our business is taking care of your business needs

 Target market

 East Texas

 Stockless or stocking dealer

 Non stocking dealer

 Dealer group

 TriMega

Interview with co-owner Gary Ables

 

OPI Executive Briefing: Are you diversifying into non-traditional OP product areas? Which ones? How necessary do you feel this is for dealers today?

 

Gary Ables: Not really. We’re constantly looking for niche markets but right now, there’s nothing out there that’s made me go ‘aha’. But if something were to come along, we’d grab it with both hands.

 

OPI: Which wholesalers do you use? Do you feel your relationship with your wholesaler could be improved in any way and if so, how?

 

GA: Our primary wholesaler is SP Richards. We’ve been with them for several years and we have a fantastic relationship with those people. Being able to speak with senior level staff is great. I wouldn’t have a problem with picking up the phone and calling Wayne Beecham. It’s quite a personal service. They call me and I call them. It works both ways.

 

OPI: Do you source any product direct from the manufacturer? If so, what percentage? Do you plan on increasing this percentage?

 

GA: Not in office products but I do in office furniture. We source products from Herman Miller, Kimball, National and Lazyboy.

 

OPI: What would you say has been your company’s best decision?

 

GA: I’m really proud that my dad had the guts to step out here and take the money out of my parents’ house and set up the business in 1963. I’m not too sure that many people would do that nowadays.

 

OPI: How do you cultivate customer relations to ensure you are the first point of call for your customer’s OP needs?

 

GA: We have seven outside sales people. That’s probably our main way of cultivating our customers as well as our service inside CSRs. The outside salespeople are out cold calling and knocking doors and building relationships. Then you have all the back-end support with our customer service people so we can retain our customer base. I wish we did a better job with cold calling as a way to enhance our profile but we have seasoned sales people who have been with the company for many years and they’re very good at building relationships.

 

OPI: How do you aim to differentiate yourself from other dealers?

 

GA: Well we’re able to move very quickly. We try to be very open to doing business with the customer the way that they want to. We don’t force people to use the internet although we have a fully transactional website through DDMS and being from East Texas, a lot of people just don’t feel comfortable using the internet yet. So our customers can place orders over the phone, fax or online. But I’d like to add that our internet business continues to grow every month.

 

OPI: What do you feel is the secret of your company’s success?

 

GA: I think its by letting customers choose how they conduct business with us and by building strong relationships with them. We’re very active in the community. I was born and raised in Tyler and so were many other of our employees. A lot of our customers our also our friends.

 

OPI: What do you consider to be your greatest challenges you expect over the following year and how do plan on overcoming them?

 

GA: Well staying competitive is a challenge as is continuing to provide the value to our customers that the big box players can’t. We have to continually be able to tell our story. We have to prove to our customers that we can compete. A lot of times, we don’t have the big billboards or TV commercials that the big box players do. There’s just a perception that those companies are the biggest and the cheapest and that we can’t compete. We have to prove to them that we can compete every day.

 

OPI: What are your priorities for the coming year?

 

GA: To keep growing at a rate of around 10 percent.

 

OPI: What trends do you expect to most impact the dealer community over the next five years?

 

GA: I would say national contracts. Well I think that so many independents lose customers to national contracts because they just go out and present themselves to corporate offices. Decisions are made in other states, far away from us and then we just get these telephone calls that say that we’re under national contract now and our corporate office won’t let us buy local anymore. I think that’s going to have a major impact if it continues to grow.

 

OPI: Is there anything the independents can do to counteract that?

 

GA: I think it’s important, and this is something that NOPA is working very hard on, there are a lot of dealers out there that are just fronts for the big box players and I think that we have to continually seek those people out and make sure that they’re not part of our business.

 

Gary Ables was last year’s president of NOPA and this year’s chairman of the OFDA.