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Superior Suppliers?

Online versions of our favorite office-supply stores: Do they make stocking any easier?

This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Purchasing office supplies used to be a no-brainer: Once someone started in on the last pack of pens or legal pads, you knew it was time to hop in your car and head to the nearest office-supply store to replenish your dwindling stock. However, now that the industry has grown to include not only traditional office-supply stores, but also their online counterparts, choosing the best place to buy office supplies is no longer a black-and-white decision.

This month, we take a closer look at office-supply giants Staples, OfficeMax and Office Depot to get a handle on your purchasing options in this increasingly Internet-oriented business world. One thing is clear: The great divide between the Internet and real-world versions of these stores is narrowing.

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