Sonoma Valley Office Supply to close
Sonoma Valley Office Supply, which has served Sonoma since 1978, may close its doors for good as soon as today, Friday.
Dana Frank, the store’s general manager and daughter of proprietor Vicky Frank, is adamant that the opening of a Staples store a few blocks away on West Napa Street has forced her family to close its business.
“Staples did us in,” she said when reached by phone Wednesday.
Frank said the store suffered losses in sales immediately after Staples opened in September 2011, but said, “We had continuing faith in the community … that the local folks would continue to shop local, and regretfully not enough did.” Frank added, “We appreciate every single customer who stayed with us, who realized that bigger does not always equal better.”
Staples has been experiencing its own troubles of late as well, announcing in September plans to close 30 stores around the country and a total of 60 worldwide. The closings are focused on larger stores, with the 30 stores (of 1,500 the chain has in the U.S.) accounting for a 15 percent reduction in square-footage. With customer behavior changing, and many buying supplies online, Staples is concentrating on smaller, convenience and service-oriented stores. The average Staples store is between 18,000 to 20,000 square feet, according to a rep. The chain generally refers to stores under 15,000 square feet as “junior stores.”
The Sonoma Staples, which is just over a year old, has 14,336-square-feet of floor space and includes a copy and print center (full-service copying and printing services) and "EasyTech" services (technology support, including computer set up and repair, software installation and upgrades).
Patt Bettinelli of Patt’s Copy World had no comment on how, if at all Staples had affected her store’s business. Paula Farwell of Copy Store and More had not responded to a request for comment. Both stores are on Napa Street just blocks from the Staples.
Staples reps did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the health of the Sonoma store.
The office supply industry in general, at least where big box stores are concerned, are struggling badly. Staples rival Office Depot posted a second-quarter loss of $57.4 million in August, and a $69.6 million loss for Q3 in November.
The Franks introduced online sales and direct-to-commercial accounts in an effort to bolster sales and stem their own losses, which, said Frank, were helping, “but not fast enough.”
Frank said that she her mother remained optimistic, hoping month-after-month that the losses would end if they could keep the store open just one month longer. “We finally couldn’t kid ourselves any longer,” she said.