How To: Buy Equipment

The Paper Chase

As you buy supplies for your new business, you're likely to find the most confusing array of choices you face involves not computers--but paper. A box of 20-pound paper and some number-10 envelopes won't cut it; you'll need letterhead, business cards, manila folders, labels and more.

Office superstores carry the basic products. Paper manufacturers such as International Paper in Purchase, New York, producer of Hammermill paper for business, have formed partnerships with the superstores. Staples and OfficeMax carry the broadest lines, says Steve Bares, Hammermill's business manager. You can also find a variety of business papers at college bookstores, electronics retailers such as Best Buy, and stationery stores.

Seeking a wider selection of paper products? Investigate mail order catalog companies such as Quill and Viking, Bares says. Catalog companies are also a good source of specialty papers, including preprinted papers you can use to make your own brochures and mailers. PaperDirect Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the largest of these specialty paper suppliers, with more than 2 million business customers.

Jan Norman is a freelance writer who specializes in small-business issues. She can be reached at

Contact Sources

Alternative Desktop Publishing,

International Paper, (901) 763-5997

JTF Business Systems, (800) 444-FAXX,

Seagreen Technologies Inc., (888) 372-2221,

Two Jakes Used Office Furniture Warehouse, (718) 782-7780,

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This article was originally published in the September 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: How To: Buy Equipment.

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