There have been some twists and turns since Melvin Vink started what would become a fixture in central Kansas 55 years ago. But each of those paths has led to Office Products Inc.’s continued growth with a strong emphasis on customer service, the current owners said.
Melvin Vink and Charles Perry opened what became Great Bend Office Products a few blocks away from the current 1204 Main location in 1959; the name was changed to OPI in 1995. Melvin Vink passed away in 2007.
“Our dad is the reason for the business opening and the reason we are still here today,” said Kenny Vink, Melvin’s son. “He taught us to work together and support our community. Dad taught us to treat people like we want to be treated.”
Kenny and his brother, Terry, are based in the Great Bend store; their brother, Craig, manages the Larned site at 516 Broadway. The Russell location is 724 N. Main.
As OPI has extended its business reach throughout central Kansas, it also has lived up to its reputation for community service, Kenny commented. For example, it has joined every chamber of commerce in its service area, which is a 60-mile radius of Great Bend.
Other examples of community service include strong support of numerous local non-profit foundations, and several charity golf tournaments and bowling leagues.
“Because of the great community support we receive, OPI encourages our staff to return the favor,” Kenny commented. “Some coach sports teams, and some are volunteer firemen and storm watchers. Others serve on community boards and all of us support local businesses.”
On the business side of the equation, OPI has a full line of office supplies, equipment and furniture. Its “first-rate” website for ordering products and Copy Center also are popular with customers, Kenny said.
“We now have three graphic artists on staff and can take care of all our customers’ printing needs – from letterhead to full-color banners and vehicle decals,” Kenny explained.
One of the biggest OPI attractions continues to be the Canon Color ImageRunner, a high-tech machine that prints, copies, scans, faxes and connects to the Internet.
“This equipment goes hand in hand with our computer division,” Kenny commented. “Our technicians are some of the most highly trained in the country on this Canon all-in-one tool. Our hardware and software technicians are experts in its operation and maintenance.”
Canon USA has recognized OPI many times in recent years for sales and service accomplishments.
While many offices need the most technologically advanced equipment, OPI doesn’t forget about the low-tech necessities.
“We all need items such as paper, pens, pencils and desk calendars,” Terry said. “We have a lot of walk-in traffic that we accommodate for all those little things you need around the office.”
In addition, Terry and Kenny recently purchased Golden Belt Printing; they retained its professional staff and hired a new graphic artist. It is now called Golden Belt Printing II LLC.
The Vinks hire locally whenever possible and always offer continuing education so that employees can stay up-to-date in the industry. OPI currently employs 31 people and Golden Belt Printing employs six.
“Companies such as OPI, Golden Belt Printing and other long-time local businesses are the foundation of our community,” Terry commented. “Those who treat their employees and customers with respect will continue to grow as long as people buy locally.
“We wouldn’t be able to hire these talented professionals if people shopped elsewhere,” he added. “Local patronage is the key to retaining and creating jobs. Support for local businesses and charitable causes helps all of us.”
OPI will celebrate its 55 years with a Great Bend Chamber After Hours event this spring.