After 30 years of experience in the office supply business, the only title Mark Brackett hadn’t worn on his employee badge was owner.
That changed on Jan. 6 of this year when Mark and his wife Lucilina opened their own online office furniture and supply business OfficeSource360.
Mark began his career in office supplies at the age 16. He said he delivered pencils, paper and other supplies in his car during his work experience periods at high school for the old Town and Country Office Products on Caldwell Avenue. After high school, Mark moved inside the store as a stock boy, then a cashier, a sales representative and finally a manager. After eight years with the company, Mark took a position with Cal Bennetts. Wanting a new challenge, Mark learned to install furniture, workplace ergonomics, large furniture purchasing and eventually worked his way to vice president of the company.
“I held every position you could hold in the office supply industry,” Mark said. “I guess it was time for a new challenge.”
After 23 years with Cal Bennetts, Mark decided to pursue his dream of owning his own company. He and wife Lucilina, who worked as an office manager ordering office supplies and furniture, discussed how the industry had lost much of its customer service as the cut rate world of online catalogues took over. The Bracketts call their OfficeSource360 a hybrid between the traditional brick and mortar office store and online office supply shopping. Through the website, customers shop for exactly what they want and compare prices from suppliers all over the United States. But unlike online retailers such as Amazon, OfficeSource360 provides face-to-face customer
service by only servicing customers in the Central Valley.
“We want people to buy local, be able to compare prices, offer competitive pricing and give them the customer service that they are not used to at big stores,” he said. “What I missed with meeting people and talking about their business.”
Mark said he spends much of his time setting up face-to-face meetings with business managers and owners to find out what their needs and budget are and trying to find ways to save them money. And while Lucilina handles most of the accounting and behind the scenes aspects of the business, she said there are even days, which she calls Terrific Tuesdays, where the couple meets with clients together.
“I think people can relate to us and they see we are a married couple that still holds hands,” she said. “I’m loving the time we spend together as a family and I think that comes through to the clients.”
Mark said OfficeSource360.com offers a one-stop shop for office supply needs, including items for your breakroom and janitorial supplies. Mark said after a brief meeting with potential customers they quickly realize how much employee time and company fuel they spend driving to different stores for their paper products, paper coffee filters and toilet paper in order to find the best price. Mark said his supplier offers the “biggest book in the industry” of available items in stock.
“A lot of people are spending a dollar to save a nickel,” he said. “We can help people by taking care of all of those things with just a few clicks or a five minute conversation. We can help a company be more efficient by freeing up your employee’s time to do things that free up more of the owner’s time.”
And of course, there is the issue of saving money. Mark said his company can save customers on average 3% on every office item, including breakroom and janitorial supplies – even if you buy things in bulk from Costco. The website allows customers to compare prices with other companies before making their decision. They also offer free delivery on orders over $50 in Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera and Kern Counties.
The Bracketts run the business out of their home hidden in the groves around Exeter. Lucilina said the home-based business has provided she and Mark more time to spend with their three children – ages 4, 12 and 29. For more information about this Exeter-based family business, call 559-592-3364 or visit officesource360.com .