Technology and a stationery store

A stationery store founded in Indiana, Pa., in the 19th century wouldn’t be everyone’s candidate for a business that applies technology in innovative ways, but Henry Hall Office Products is just such a company.

Founded by Thomas Henry Hall in 1866 when he was just 17, the retailer has earned the DELTA Award, created by Philadelphia law firm Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis to recognize companies that are innovative in their use of technology.

The nominees are chosen based on their ability to demonstrate contributions that involve one or more of several components, including use of technology to eliminate barriers within an organization or among two or more entities; application of technology to the business model in a significant way; or solutions that resulted in some traditional measure of business success, such as reduction in costs or increases in revenue.

Instead of building a chain of retail stores or selling through catalogs, the company decided to sell online. The little store founded to sell merchandise including stationery, books, musical instruments and guns now offers more than 25,000 items through its online catalog.

Says Jeffrey Tobin, the company’s president: “Offering our products online enables us to reach more people more efficiently.”

Ray Marano