Best Product – Core Office Products
Victor Technology: All-In-One Monitor Riser
This product marries the features of a traditional product with the requirements of a modern day user. The solid wood construction raises a computer to a comfortable ergonomic height, holding up to 50 pounds, and comprises a wide range of features such as speakers, headphone/microphone jacks, four high-speed USB ports, a dock for Apple products and an SD card reader.
When asked what makes the product a winner, Nick Giammarino of Victor Technology (left, centre) said: “It’s something new, something people have never seen before. It’s a product that dealers seem to really like and see the value in because it combines traditional products with modern technology.”
Best Product – Cleaning & Breakroom
Mind Reader: The Breakroom
The judges believe that this product leverages the huge installed base of single serve coffee makers, providing sizable sales opportunities for dealers. It’s a three-in-one system that brings together three Mind Reader products – the Cube, the Organizer and the Anchor – to maximise counter space while minimising mess, and the look and functionality make it attractive to place anywhere.
Andrew Bowen, Lead Designer at Mind Reader (above left), said. “We are a new supplier and product line to the office channel, so being recognised so quickly is a big thrill and honour! Our unique products offer quality and differentiation to the breakroom category and make a great add-on sale for resellers.”
Best Product – Technology
Logitech: Logitech Washable Keyboard K310
No workplace is completely dirt free, and we often read studies that show just how dirty computer accessories can get. Here’s one solution – a washable keyboard that can withstand anything between a wiping down and a long soak. And as well as being waterproof, the keyboard has an attractive, comfortable design.
Mary Meador, National Account Manager at LOGITECH, said: “We’re very pleased with our product design and I’m so pleased it won! The world of technology has changed so much, and products like these are allowing more and more dealers to evolve into different markets. It’s an exciting time.”
Product Innovation of the Year
Kensington: Kensington Proximo Starter Kit
The judges believe this product is great in a world where we’re constantly distracted! The downloadable app works with up to nine Bluetooth tags that can be securely fastened to important items such as laptops, cameras, suitcases, handbags, vehicles or keys – anything that you don’t want to lose – which can then be tracked through the app.
Katherine Riley, B2B Marketing Manager at ACCO Brands (far left), said: “Dealers are realising more and more that they need to sell technology products like this that provide a real cutting edge.”
People’s Choice, and Best Product – Furniture
Safco Products: Zenergy Ball Chair
The judges loved this chair, making it a Best Product winner, but so did the ABC attendees, as it also won the People’s Choice Award in a live vote during the gala dinner. The fun design draws attention and brightens up the workplace, while helping the user strengthen his or her core while sitting.
When presented with the award Rick Manning of Safco said: “It’s a really fun product to showcase! Most people are initially hesitant to sit on it, but when they do they fall in love with it. It’s very comfortable, and has a really unique design. I could stand here all day and showcase it because people love it!”
Professional of the Year
Wendy Pike, Owner of Twist Office Products
TriMega’s VP Marketing Michael Morris gave a heart-warming introduction to Wendy Pike of Twist Office Products in Chicago, Illinois. “Innovative, resilient, passionate, fun,” were his words. “With an impressive career in OP that spans nearly 30 years, our winner embodies the spirit and energy that make this industry so awesome. Along with her business partner and husband she has built a hugely successful business in the Midwest by simply being a forward thinker, a compassionate and charismatic leader, a savvy and smart businessperson and by having fun every step of the way.
“She is active in our industry, making real contributions through numerous committees and councils. She has skilfully orchestrated several successful mergers and acquisitions of complementary businesses and she recently directed a creative and compelling rebranding campaign. And she’s not just OP street smart, she’s academically at the top of her game too – so much so, that she teaches evening business courses at her local college.”
Pike received her award to a standing ovation. Afterwards she said: “Receiving the award was very humbling. I was totally shocked as there are so many people who are deserving of the award. I love the OP industry, the people and the customers we serve. I am so passionate about helping independent dealers succeed and get so excited when I see them implement ideas that we discussed. I believe that if we band together, independents can start a revolution in the industry and customers will see that we are such great alternatives to the big box stores!
Chip Hummel, Chairman of the Board at Hummel’s Office Plus
Harrison Hummel IV, COO at Hummel’s, presented the Industry Achievement Award, and his words were warm indeed. He gave a run down of his father’s contribution to the industry: “Even at an early age, it was apparent that our honouree was destined for the office products industry. Working with his family while in college, he learned first hand what made the business tick from a financial perspective and became more and more involved. Seeing the potential and promise in his son, his father handed over the keys to the business when he was only 22 years old.
“Big things were on the horizon. He went out to sell and sell and sell, landing accounts at local hospitals, banks and colleges to drive the company’s sales up. Then he decided to buy and buy and buy other small stationery stores. Joining Independent Stationers’ board provided the opportunity to network with dealers from all over the country.”
Chip has served on more than 20 local boards, focusing on making his community a better place, and he and his wife Judy have donated to many organisations over the years. As Harrison said, Chip “always says that if you’re going to do business in the community, you need to make the community your business”
Harrison’s final words were particularly moving: “It is my honour and privilege to present this Industry Achievement award to a man I consider my friend, my colleague, my mentor, and most importantly my father: Chip Hummel.”
Unfortunately, due to sudden severe flooding at home, Chip was unable to be present to accept the award. However, he sent this message: “I was truly humbled by this special honour. I love this industry with all my heart and soul. I accept this award not for myself but on behalf of my family, employees and partners of Hummel’s Office Plus, and also the independent dealers across the country that have the strength, ambition and passion to be an independent dealer. My congratulations to all of you for being office products entrepreneurs.”