As the ceremonial ribbon was cut Tuesday morning inside All Makes Office Equipment Co.’s first-ever space in Columbus, it had the feel of a family gathering rather than a grand opening.
Dozens of Columbus Area Chamber Of Commerce Commodores, looking sharp in their signature red coats, and residents packed Parkway Plaza Suite 102 at 4471 41st Ave. to welcome the newest member of the local business community. There were plenty of conversations, smiles and laughs in the room.
Family-owned and Omaha-based, All Makes prides itself on providing office furniture, space planning and interior design services, as well as office machines, including photocopiers, printers and scanning equipment, for any budget. Now in its 101st year of business, the company was founded in 1918 by Harry Ferer as All Makes Typewriter Co. It’s owned by the same family today; however, it has expanded beyond its Omaha headquarters by adding branches in Lincoln, Kearney and Des Moines, Iowa, throughout the years.
“I just think it’s really exciting to be part of this community,” All Makes Executive Vice President/CFO Amee Zetzman said, moments after cutting the ribbon with a big pair of scissors alongside her brother and All Makes President/CEO Jeff Kavich. “It makes you feel good to come to a community where they welcome their businesses.”
All Makes welcomed community members with smiles, Scooter’s Coffee and Daylight Donuts, two popular businesses in town. After some time to mingle, All Makes leaders talked about the company’s background and the decision to expand to Columbus. A big part of it was having Columbus resident Dan Eschliman in their corner – he’s the branch manager for Columbus, also covering the Fremont, Norfolk and Grand Island areas. He has 30 years of experience in the industry.
“In the months we’ve known him, immediately there was a great relationship and trust built. I know he’s going to represent our brand and reputation here in Columbus like it would be in our other markets,” Kavich said, noting he was more than pleased with the turnout and support from area residents. “I think he’s just perfect for the role.”
Kavich is no stranger to the area, though. His wife, Donna Kush, has family members who live in the likes of Columbus, Monroe, Duncan, Platte Center and Genoa, and they visit them regularly. That also factored into their decision to bring the business to town.
All Makes will share the lower level of Parkway Plaza with the previously announced Big Apple Bagels, which is expected to open sometime in the near future as construction winds down. It will also join fellow building tenants Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Premier Real Estate, Applied Connective Technologies and Charter Title & Escrow.
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Berkshire Hathaway Home Services/Premier Real Estate Broker/Agent Renee Mueller is also one of Parkway Plaza’s owners. She said getting tenants for the building has been a strategic process, noting she’s been very particular on who she brings into the building because every business in it works cohesively. All Makes has already worked with other tenants in the building, with Mueller noting it furnished her upper-level Berkshire office and provides some services on the technology end. All Makes was another good fit for Parkway Plaza, she said.
“I was on a mission to get them here,” Mueller said. “I think they’ll fit right in with our whole business plan.”
All Makes on Tuesday afternoon hosted more members of the community for an Open House. That event brought out a crowd that was invited to some munchies provided by Hy-Vee and Dusters, as well as cookies by Wildflower Pastries.
Eschliman on Tuesday morning was undoubtedly excited about All Makes’ future in Columbus, noting people can expect high-quality service and products.
“The best – anything less than perfect is an excuse,” he said. “That’s what I live by.”
Having called Columbus his home for decades now, Eschliman stressed it was the right time for All Makes to expand into his hometown.
“Columbus is growing so much,” he said. “And this is where we want to be.”
Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.