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March 31, 2017

How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Millennials in the Workforce

I recently attended an industry trade show – two days in a hotel/casino in Las Vegas, so jam packed with business seminars and product showcases that I had no time to drop even one coin into a slot machine. As office supply conferences go, this one was pretty good – the hotel had comfortable beds, and the food and coffee were far above average. The educational tracks were educational, particularly about the emerging trends in how office supply buyers use vendors, and how dedicated office supply and furniture dealers like Keeney’s can provide more value than the new crop of internet competitors, led by Amazon. Essendant, the hosts of the conference, were gracious as could be, and as always, every finding they presented in the keynote sessions was well supported by market research that reached deep into our customer base.
My biggest issue with the conference was that almost every seminar contained all sorts of warnings about the presence of Millennials – folks now between 23 and 35 years old – in the workforce. “They consume social media like a pack of rabid dogs!” “By 2020 they’ll be half the workforce!” “They only want to buy things online!” All of these breathlessly given utterances were pronounced as if Doomsday was at hand.
Here are some of the concrete things we heard about this much-feared segment of humanity:
1. They like collaboration more than competition.
2. They want flexible hours at work.
3. They prefer supervisors who listen to them, and mentor them, as opposed to just telling them what to do.
4. They like to buy things online, preferably with a mobile device.
5. They do their product research online
6. They are loyal to companies that add value – social value, lifestyle value, informational value – to transactional purchases
As I heard all of these frightful facts, I realized that…I prefer these things too, and I am more than twice as old as the average millennial.
Perhaps it is because I attended the conference with one of our own Millennial employees – someone to whom I can relate and with whom I can converse without having to filter my thoughts through a Millennial Interpretation Filter – I just couldn’t help but think that this group of supposedly alien and frightening people are pretty much the same as everyone else, but they have only experienced the world with the internet in it .
The takeaway for me is that anyone in business who wants to stay in business has to be able to collaborate, show real flexibility with coworkers, listen to and mentor employees, sell, buy and research online, and offer value along with commodities, or they won’t have customers for long. At Keeney’s we embrace these values with joy – all of us, young and old.
So, instead of obsessing over the Millennials, we obsess over how to serve all of our customers and employees with all of our technology, all of our hearts and all of our minds.

March 8, 2017

Lisa’s 35th Anniversary & International Women’s Day



We Keeney’s employees have two reasons to celebrate today: first it is our President’s 35th anniversary with the company, and second, it is International Women’s Day. Both of these events seem improbable; Lisa does not seem like she’s old enough to have been in the workforce for 35 years, and she did not start working here on the day she was born (our founder, Bob, was a stern parent, but not to that degree). However, her business acumen, her wisdom in steering our relatively small company of 32 people through the hazardous waters of the Office Supply industry, as many larger, better funded and almost entirely male-run companies have, been eaten by competitors or failed outright, would suggest that she has always had an older person’s knowledge and judgement. When you look around the company and see many people who have been here more than 10 years, and a large handful who have stayed for almost Lisa’s entire tenure, you know that she is an excellent boss; a person who inspires others to their best work and makes her company a home, not just a workplace.

International Women’s Day is a funny concept. Why do we restrict the observance of how women contribute to society, and in particular to business, one day a year? At Keeney’s we have 32 employees – half of whom are women. Including Lisa, we have 9 employees with the word “manager” in their title – 5 of the 9 are women. Lisa listens equally to input from women and men in her employ, and frequently includes rank and file employees in decision-making if they have a unique perspective – without regard to gender, or years with the company. That may be another reason employees stay at Keeney’s for so long – people like to be valued for their minds and opinions, as well as their competency and productivity. Is this how it works at companies run by men? I don’t have recent, direct knowledge of that because I’ve been here for so long, but from what I hear, men in charge usually don’t place so much value on listening.

As a man benefitting from all these advantages of working in a woman owned company, working for a President like Lisa, I cannot fully get behind the idea of an annual “International Woman’s Day.” At Keeney’s, we should be celebrating women in the workforce, women leading companies, women setting the standard for excellence  every day. I know that if my female coworkers had stayed home today, the rest of us would have had a hell of a time getting anything done – not because we’re incompetent without our female coworkers, but because we are dependent on them.

So, three cheers for the women, six for the women of Keeney’s, and twelve for Lisa, on her 35th work anniversary.

-Steven Sterne, GM, Keeney’s Office Supply and Interiors


November 29, 2016

Supporting Local Nonprofits

Independent Dealer magazine published an article highlighting Keeney’s work with non-profit organizations in the local community this month. Read about it on page 43:

June 1, 2016

National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month! Here are a few tips to keep your workplace safe and reduce work related accidents.


December 10, 2015

Office-Themed Gift Ideas – 15 Ideas to Keep Your Loved One Happy At Work


There is something unique about office supplies; most people really enjoy using them – especially when they are fun or different. With the holidays upon us and gift buying time in full swing, check out some of the fun and quirky options available to keep your loved one happy while they are working.

MMMFB330SEA - Seahawks Pop Up Post It Note DispenserMMMC32HELMETSEA - Seahawks Helmet Dispenser   SWI74079 - Seahawks Stapler

Seahawks Tape Dispenser, Post It Note Dispenser & Stapler – Calling all 12’s! Fun, football shaped Seahawk desk accessories for the season ahead.


Soccer Tape Dispenser


Soccer Tape Dispenser – For all those Sounders Fans out there – add some fun to your desk with this energetic tape dispenser.


Weego Battery Pack – Get your loved one out of any jam. Jump starts the car or charges your smartphone – this all in one option is a dream gift this holiday season.


Pink - Ladies Computer Tote

Pink – Ladies Computer Tote


Femme Floral Computer Tote Bag – who said office supplies aren’t sexy?  This gorgeous bag carries your standard laptop and everything else – all while staying stylish.  No more lugging that ugly computer bag.


Glass Chairmat – Class up your home office or your work area with this elegant, ergonomic, economical, non-shattering glass chairmat. Lifetime guarantee.


Purell Desk Pal

Purell Desktop Pal



Purell Desktop Pal – for those that cannot be without their Purell; this fun desktop buddy holds the standard purell bottles and adds some character to your desk.





Ergotron WorkFit T – if your loved one would prefer to stand at work or at home when on the computer – this mobile, sit-to-stand solution is the perfect “go anywhere” solution.

Fashion Binders – Who can enjoy their workspace without some color? These fashion binders are adorable and a great way to store your mini documents or photos.

Mini Glass Dry Erase – for home or office.  This is a stylish, sleek organizing / scheduling tool for your organized loved one.  Personal size of 9×12 available.


GMT20155 - Keurig - OfficePRO K155

Keurig – OfficePRO K155


Keurig OfficePro K155 – that perfect cup of coffee every time.

Stylish Coffee Drawer – this accessory goes nicely with the Keurig Coffee machine that you will also buy.  Great stylish design to hold k-cups.

You can suggest a “Coffee Club” to your team or boss this holiday season.  The boss does not even need to buy a brewer.  With Keeney’s Office Supply’s Coffee Program – we will give you the Keurig brewer for free if you buy your k-cups from us.  Not a bad deal.  See our Coffee and Breakroom section for details.


These are just a few fun ideas for this holiday season.  All are available from Keeney’s Office Supply for next day delivery – no minimum order.  Start buying your fun office supplies today!




July 9, 2015

The Independent: Customer Service is still the Answer

Think Local Buy LocalWe are celebrating a month of INDEPENDENCE. Not only as a country on July 4th, but as Keeney’s Office Supply, an independent, local, woman owned office supply and interiors company in Seattle. We have been in business for over 68 years and we would not be here today without the freedom of being an independent company. This freedom has allowed us to be flexible to changing markets and customer’s needs, to be adaptable to requests and to be mindful of current economic concerns. We don’t answer to shareholders, we answer to our customers and that is something we are very proud of. So as Independent Business/Retailer month is upon us, we reflect on why it is great to be an independent and why our customers benefit.

Survival of the Independent:

As my Google alerts go off every hour about the possible- impending merge of Office Depot/ Max with Staples, and as I read about Amazon’s plans for world domination across all industries, I am more motivated than frightened. We are nimble, market savvy and customer focused. We are experts in our field and we provide tangible, appreciable value to our customers in every interaction. We have outlasted 99% of the office supply dealers who were in business in the late 1980’s, including formidable suppliers like BizMart, Office Club, Eastman’s, Viking, BT, USOP, Corporate Express and Office Max. We are survivors because we always find new ways to stay relevant to – and focused on – our customers, without losing sight of our core values and identity. We get it.

Keeney’s is growing even as our industry shrinks, the cracks are widening in our competition’s service level and responsibility to its customers. People are seeing dramatic price increases, reduced customer service and delivery options – all of which are important to customers. For Keeney’s, if price was the only reason someone bought from us – we would be out of business. We are not the lowest price on everything – but who is? What we do is deliver an exceptional level of service, understanding and product expertise that keeps our customers coming back and have done for many, many years. They trust us and rely on us to be their business partner and we have continued to deliver on this promise to them.

Customers don’t sacrifice anything with Independents:

Lisa-on-blue-canChoosing to buy from an independent dealer like Keeney’s does not mean the customer has to sacrifice anything – At Keeney’s , you still get state-of-the-art online ordering platform, mobile ordering app, rebates, discounts, electronic emails and invoices, tracking, free, next day delivery. The best thing is, we are still here to talk to you. Our customer service team is here in Redmond, they know the customers and their accounts, they are in communication with all drivers and sales people and warehouse and purchasing. We are all in the same office and share the same values we place on our customers. They come first.

 So this month, as we celebrate the independence of our great nation, we here at Keeney’s also give thanks for the brave decisions of our fearless woman leader, Lisa Keeney McCarthy. Who without her strength and savvy business approach, Keeney’s would not be standing here today as a growing, diverse, forward thinking office supply & interior company – we would simply be another tomb in the Office Supplier graveyard.




 Written by Amber Jackson – Marketing Manager @ Keeney’s Office Supply


April 10, 2015

Office Furniture Installation: The Dangers of Not Hiring a Pro


Office Furniture Installation

While office furniture installation may seem like a simple “DIY” task, it is very important to be sure that your furniture is installed correctly. When office furniture is not properly installed, problems such as employee injuries or damaged technology and office equipment can arise.

Broken Chair


Broken Desk


Each of these issues adds extra costs for your business, whether for workers compensation, replacement of the damaged technology or equipment, or of course, the replacement or repair of the original furniture installation. To avoid such injuries, damages, and most of all extra costs; consider hiring a pro versus trying to assemble office furniture yourself.

Think about it: owners have a business to run, management has several important tasks to complete and employees have deadlines to meet. Allow a professional to minimize your stress and protect your furniture investment through damage-free delivery and the highest quality installation. While some companies may simply drop off boxes at your office door, our seasoned team of professionals here at Keeney’s will deliver, assemble, and install your office furniture.

Having a single point of contact for each of these services provides continuity and accountability from start to finish for our customers. Our commitment to high quality service and professionalism assures our customers that your furniture investment is installed safely and securely.

Well-furnished office spaces can create a good first impression for your customers as well as maintain employee productivity. Whether you need assistance with delivery, assembly, installation, or repair, our furniture installation team can help. Contact us for furniture installation services in the Puget Sound Region.

February 24, 2015

Tips to Avoid Neck Strain with Mobile Devices


For centuries people have worn out their bodies on equipment designed to make life easier or work more productive. Over the years the prolonged and repetitive motion of sewing machines, looms, typewriters, assembly lines and other “modern” devices have brought long-term circulation and back problems to millions.

Now that we’ve replaced mechanical equipment with electronic, we face similar health issues especially with our increasing use of mobile devices. Tablets and smart phones force us to unnaturally crane our neck to read tiny screens and tap on tiny keys. It’s no wonder many of us suffer from tired eyes, sore shoulders and aching backs. But there’s good news. You can avoid “vulture neck” and other hazards by adopting a few simple habits when using your mobile device.

Tablet Tips

Buy right. Don’t buy a larger screen than you need if a smaller, lighter model will do. Be sure to test the brightness of the display, especially if you’ll be using indoors and out.

Straighten up. The problem is how these devices are held. Your non-dominant hand holds the tablet, while the dominant finger touches the screen, clenching the other fingers so they don’t accidentally touch the screen. Although tablets are usually very light, even one weighing a few ounces can cause strain when used for long periods. Practice the same good posture you use for your computer: feet on the floor, shoulders and neck relaxed, arms to your side and back supported by a chair.

Adjust your seat. Part of the “vulture neck” comes from placing your tablet below your field of vision when seated. Adjust your seat so the screen is at or just below your field of vision when holding your head and neck comfortably.

Raise it. Keep your tablet raised to eye level by placing it on a table instead of holding it in your lap. Keep it propped up with a stand that allows it to stay upright. If you must hold it in your lap, or are reading while lying down, use a pillow to raise it up and bring the screen closer.

Consider a keyboard. Tablets are made for convenience and portability, not for creating big documents or inputting large amounts of data as they don’t promote good posture or comfort. For that type of work use a laptop or desktop. If a tablet is your only option, adding a keyboard and mouse will decrease strain.

Keep moving. They call these mobile devices so you should move around, stretch, change positions and take frequent breaks to keep your muscles from cramping up and to keep your circulation flowing.

February 17, 2015

6 Simple Steps Staying Safe and Secure Online

Online Security

You’d think twice before walking down a dark alley at 2AM. But when it comes to online safety, too many of us do just that. In haste, we don’t stop to think about the seemingly innocent download or double check URLs before making a purchase. Scammers wait for a weak moment when your guard is down. Every day hackers write new code and develop new schemes to steal your personal information and money. But with a little vigilance you can keep yourself and your computer safe and secure using the following tips.

1. Keep your antivirus software up-to-date. Anti-virus software is your best protection against the worst kind of computer problems – viruses. While most viruses enter via email or downloads, some can spread through USB disk drives, leading some companies to disable the port. It’s important to keep your anti-virus software current or enable it to update automatically.

2. Beware of downloading. The fastest, easiest way for hackers to get into your computer is to get you to install it yourself. It starts out innocent enough. You visit a site to download a useful new desktop enhancement you’ve heard about. After poking around, you determine the site looks legitimate and start your download. What you don’t know is the software you installed also includes a few extra programs that allow them access to your computer files and passwords or include programs that watch your activity online. Often hackers will use someone else’s software and add viruses to it, making it hard to tell which software is actually genuine. If in doubt, conduct more research or ask for professional help before downloading.

3. Don’t trust email. Email is a way of life, and unfortunately a preferred choice for many increasingly clever scams. Gone are the days of ungrammatical emails from a Nigerian prince. Today’s scams are well-written and more sophisticated than ever – a friend stranded penniless in a foreign country, an email for a “missed” delivery, confirmation of a purchase never made, work-at-home scams, immediate cash advances, not to mention pleas from lovelorn ladies. Use common sense. Don’t download attachments, click on links or enter passwords or personal information unless you feel 100 percent certain.

4. Back it up. Think for a moment about the files you have on your computer: proposals, invoices, spreadsheets, photographs, and years of work. Now imagine it’s all wiped out. It would be impossible to recreate, yet too many of us do not regularly back up. Whether using external drives or an automatic online back-up program, it’s easy. You may never have to use it, but if you do, you’ll be thankful you did!

5. Different sites, different passwords. Hackers know most of us use the same username and password for various sites whether they’re important sites – like your bank – or less important – like registration to an online trade publication. After all, it’s a hassle to remember or create a log for all your passwords. Using the same password, however, significantly weakens your security. If you’re not going to create a different password for every site, at a minimum change it for each site that has access to your financial data. It can save you a lot of grief down the road.

6. Log out. Again, it’s a hassle, but offers greater protection. When you’re done using a site, simply log out. Next time you log in, you will need to type in your password again, but that can be a good thing because hackers don’t know it. If certain web pages are open, there are specific types of attacks that can take over and transfer money or wreak havoc on your system. Fortunately, most browsers can now detect this type of threat, but every now and then they fail. Logging out gives you that extra layer of protection and peace of mind.

The internet has become a necessity for conducting business and everyday life. Unfortunately, the nature of computers and vulnerability of unsuspecting users make it a prime target for the unscrupulous. Need advice? Keeney’s can help you secure your computer and your business so you can rest easy. Call or email us today!

February 9, 2015

History of the Pencil Sharpener – Who would have thought?

Throughout human history startling technological leaps have made life easier and work more efficient.  According to the folks at (who ought to know) pencils have been around in various forms since the 16th century.  Long acknowledged as an improvement over earlier writing implements, sharpening them had always been kind of a hassle; whittling with a knife requires a skilled hand.

But then in 1828 a Frenchman named Bernard Lassimone invented the first mechanical pencil sharpener.  As noted by The Early Office Museum, this sharpener employed small metal files set at 90 degrees in a block of wood and worked to scrape and grind the edges of the pencil’s tip.

Since it wasn’t all that much faster than whittling, it didn’t catch on, which is why in 1847 another Frenchman named Therry des Estwaux improved on Lassimone’s design and came up with the first sharpener that worked by twisting the pencil in a conical housing, a design known today as a prism sharpener.

Fast on the heels of this advancement, Walter K. Foster patented the first American pencil sharpener in 1851, improving on Estwaux’s cone shaped design and making it so the tool could be easily mass produced.

Perhaps it was because of the advent of reliable prism sharpeners, or maybe it was just serendipitous timing, but 10 years later in 1861 Eberhard Faber established the first pencil factory in New York City and pencils were suddenly widely available.

As is often the case with technology, an improvement in design begets advancements in production which in turn calls for further improvements in design.  Such was the case with pencil sharpeners.  All sorts of variations on grinding, twisting and scraping emerged in pencil sharpener design throughout the late 19th century (see the images at The Early Office Museum) but they all had one major flaw; they required the user to hold the sharpener steady and turn the pencil or hold the pencil steady and turn the sharpener.  Either way, the result was often broken lead.pencil sharpener

The answer was to hold to hold both the pencil and sharpener steady and let the inner workings move uniformly over the pencil, sharpening it.  The first attempts to implement such a design incorporated sandpaper and/or blades neither of which worked very well.

Then in 1896 the A.B. Dick Planetary Pencil Pointer was patented.  This sharpener, according to The Early Office Museum, used two milling disks which “revolved around their axis as they orbited the tip of the pencil”, what’s called a planetary mechanism.

But just like Estwaux’s early prism sharpener needed a final tweak before it was ready for prime time, the A.B. Dick Pencil Pointer needed one final twist before it became the crank sharpeners so familiar to school children of the 60’s and 70’s.  In 1904 the Olcott Climax Pencil Sharpener provided it, utilizing a cylindrical cutting head with spiral cutting edges in a planetary mechanism.  With the lone exception of the exquisitely simple prism sharpener, this new design left all the other designs in the dust.

The next major advancement in pencil sharpeners saw its first incarnation as early as 1910, but electric pencil sharpeners didn’t become commercially viable until the 1940’s.  Their utility was obvious.  Now a user could hold their hand perfectly still, insert the pencil and moments later remove it sharpened.  It was practically magic.

Pencil sharpeners have come a long way since whittling with a knife and what often looked like the final answer to an earlier problem needed a few improvements of its own before it caught on, but today’s pencil sharpeners provide great utility at a reasonable price.  One could say the technology has been honed to a fine point.

Image Credits

Wooden Pencil Sharpener, Asim 18,  Planetary Mechanism Sharpener, Toytoy

We Get It