In the 30 years since Jim Huffman bought
Huffman's Office Equipment, he has seen a lot of
"As a kid, you take orders Monday, you deliver
Friday," Huffman said.
Now, he said, people order online and expect their
office supplies to arrive at their doorstop the next
day. The customer can order whatever they need for
the office and pay with a credit card, without even
having to step into the store, 5318 Lycoming Mall
"It's very green if the customer wants," Huffman
said, explaining that there does not need to be a
paper trail unless the customer wants one. "The new
way is much more cost effective. Once the customer
places the order, we don't touch it until we deliver.
We call the suppliers and give them the list of items."
He said he does not
get very many orders
over the phone anymore.
Working online has
changed the way he
interacts with customers.
While he used to work
face-to-face with customers,
now he said the
only people who see the
customers are the delivery
Huffman misses the
"We moved away
from personal interaction,"
he said. "It's a
shame because that's
what we have over our
Because the business
is small, Huffman
said that helped
them stay successful.
he said. "Quicker
than the big companies."
The office supplies
also have changed. Huffman said 75 percent
of the equipment has changed with the
introduction of computers and fax machines in
Huffman's Office Equipment varies from
other stores in that they are the only one in the
area that sells office supplies, furniture and
machines, he said.
"Most only sell one or two," Huffman said.
He bought an old firehouse in Pennsdale for
inventory years ago, but since most people buy
online, he no longer needed the space and
instead rented out the property to the gas
With the website, Huffman said he can do
more business with less space and people. He
went from six store locations and 45 employees
to one location and 14 employees, just in
Most of the business Huffman does is with
his furniture line. The office supplies come in
small orders consistently. While the furniture sales
are much more inconsistent, there are large peaks in
the sale of furniture when a company needs to furnish
or refurnish an office.
The store offers free delivery daily to a 60 mile
radius around Williamsport.
Huffman bought the business from his father in
1981, which meant he worked in it for a long time
before he purchased it. From his time spent in the
office supply business, he said he does not have a
"I've been in business so long, I like it all," he
said. "I grew up in the business and never did anything
If he had to pick the best part, it would be his
"The most key employees have been here for 20
plus years," Huffman said. "I have a very great
For the future, Huffman wants more of the same.
"I want more technical products in serving customers,"
he said. "Less and less paper."