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Redmond, WA-Based Keeney’s Office Supply | Office Interiors Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Thursday, September 21, 2017  
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The year was 1947. The United States, under President Harry S. Truman, was embarking on a struggle for political supremacy with the Soviet Union that would soon come to be known as the Cold War. The country at large was very much in recovery mode from the ravages of World War II, with demand outstripping supply across a broad swathe of consumer goods and fueling a strong economy.

 

It was the year that also saw Jackie Robinson step onto the field as the first African-American in Major League Baseball, the invention of the transistor, the United Nations vote in favor of the creation of Israel and the premiere of the beloved movie classic, “Miracle on 34th Street.”

 

And in Bellevue, Washington, an aspiring young entrepreneur by the name of Bob Keeney started selling paper, pens and other office supplies out of his station wagon to businesses, government agencies and nonprofits throughout the Puget Sound market.

 

Fast forward 70 years and the company he founded, Keeney’s Office Supply | Office Interiors is now in the hands of his daughter, Lisa Keeney McCarthy, and her team of 30-plus hard-working industry professionals.

 

It’s a small business, but it’s supported by a network of business partners that enable it to compete successfully online and against the biggest of big boxes.

 

“My dad put in place a commitment to supplying businesses with quality products and personal service that has long been a core part of our DNA at Keeney’s,” says Keeney McCarthy. “At the same time, we’ve become true change masters, willing and able to turn on a dime in response to new customer needs and market demands.”

 

Where once Keeney’s sold office supplies and little else, the company today serves as a true one-stop resource for any business organization, with a product mix that in addition to office supplies now includes office furniture and turnkey project management, design, space planning, relocation and installation services, janitorial and cleaning supplies, food and beverage items, ad specialties, ergonomic products and more.

 

And it does all that in a way that respects and nurtures the environment we all share. “At Keeney’s, we believe that what’s good for the environment is good for our customers and our company,” says Keeney McCarthy. The dealership has not only steadily reduced its own carbon footprint through the years, but also offers programs today designed to help its customers do the same thing, a key reason why it is a multi-year winner of a “Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling” award from King County and a multi-award winner of the “Washington Green Fifty,” a local business magazine’s listing of the most environmentally friendly companies in the state.

 

Keeney’s also has a remarkable track record of giving back to the community. For the past five years, Keeney’s has closed on Martin Luther King Day, so that its employees can spend that time working on a special project for United Way.

 

“We really enjoy our MLK Day project work,” says Keeney McCarthy. “It’s not only a tremendous source of satisfaction to help an organization that’s dedicated to helping others in need; it’s also a terrific team building exercise for a group of people who are already pretty terrific to begin with!”

 

Talk with Keeney McCarthy about the company her father founded and it doesn’t take long for the conversation to come around to the extended family she works with.

 

“Work experience is important but even more, we look for really nice people when we go hiring,” she explains. “We want people who are empathetic and honest, and who not only have a strong work ethic but who are also good listeners. They’re the ones who have made us a company that truly puts customers and community first.”

 

As Lisa Keeney McCarthy talks about prospects for the next 70 years at Keeney’s, her confidence in her team’s ability to keep the momentum going comes through loud and clear.

 

“We’re all doing business in an era where sudden and dramatic change has become just about the only sure thing,” she says with a wry smile. “Fortunately, my dad taught me to embrace change and welcome it far more as opportunity than threat. None of us can predict the future with any certainty but at Keeney’s, we’re looking forward to it and the opportunity—and privilege—to continue to serve the customers who have been so important to us for the past 70 years.”


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