Success Story

Business Name: Ave Office Supplies

Owner: Carol Kirkland

"Local," "Independent," "Mom-and-Pop," "Woman Owned," "Minority Owned" These are some terms that have been used to describe AVE Office Supplies. They are proud to claim them all!

The secret to the success of AVE Office Supplies is the personal connections cultivated by owner, Carol Kirkland. AVE Office Supplies carry thousands of popular, high-quality name-brand office supplies, janitorial supplies and detention supplies. Their independent status allows them to provide their clients with great products at great prices. More importantly, they can provide personal service that the national chains stores can't match. This is truly what sets them apart from the rest.

As a Michigan-based company, AVE Office Supplies is supporting the local economy. Kirkland is committed to giving back to the community. Employees volunteer time and donate goods to local charity organizations, such as Operation Kid Equip, a nonprofit organization that provides free school supplies, books, hygiene and food items to local children in need.

Carol is a long-term client of the Women’s Business Center and has worked with Deb Loeser, Program Manager on growth strategies for the business throughout the years. What Carol finds highly valuable is Deb’s vast knowledge of the office supply industry and business trends. “It’s hard to find someone who can understand my challenges and have great ideas at the same time”, says Carol. Competing against the office supply giants can be challenging and at times discouraging. Loeser pointed out that instead of competing with them, figure out where your niche is and exploit it.

Carol has positioned herself as the expert in personal connections and quality service as their niche market to differentiate her company from the big box companies. AVE Office Supplies has seen record growth over the last two years. There sales have increased over 25% for each of the past two years and the bottom line is more profitable.