17 August 2007 — Delray Beach (FL): In a new twist to news that the GSA awarded 11 small businesses with government office supply contacts, reports suggest that retail giant Office Depot has filed a protest.
Depot, which failed to secure a blanket purchase agreement last week, is protesting on the grounds that seven of the 11 small businesses do not qualify as small business as office products are not made by the so-called small firms.
But, the Small Business Administration waived the ‘non-manufacturer rule’ set by US federal law, which stipulates that firms given small-business contract must manufacture the products themselves or distribute those produced by another small business.
In the protest lodged with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the seven businesses named include: Adams Marketing, Future Solutions, George W Allen, Metro Office Products, SITA Business Systems, Stephens Office Supply and Veterans Imaging Products.
Michael Tucker, president of George W Allen, said: "I think it is odd that Office Depot, who recently won awards with the Federal Aviation Administration, IRS and Homeland Security, would be crying foul because they didn’t win this one. The fact they’re naming small businesses is even more hard to figure."
A spokesman for Office Depot refused to comment while "legal matters were pending".
The two large corporations to have secured the GSA contracts, Staples and Corporate Express, were not named in the protest.