Michael Gentile and Independent Stationers battle big-box stores using native power

“We just have to keep redefining the new normal and move on. For example, because of all the new categories we have developed, we probably have as many non-office product manufacturers that we represent as we have traditional office product manufacturers.”

Looking ahead

While much has changed in Gentile’s world, there’s little time to lose sight of what might lie ahead.

“What’s keeping me up at night now is succession planning for our members, gaining access to capital for our members, staying current with technology and enabling our dealers to take advantage of the many programs and services we offer. Mostly though, I’m confident we will continue to evolve,” he says.

Finally, Gentile says, “I’m not saying you change for the sake of change, but you better be aware of what the change is. I’m from Boston and a big hockey fan and I tell our people that if you want to win, you need to go where the puck is going. We have to follow that puck. You can’t stand still and watch the game hoping it will come to you.”

Takeaways:

  • People value doing business locally.
  • Collaboration, planning and flexibility are key to success.
  • Respect the differences of individuals.