Small Business

Midwest Single Source more than an office supply company

Entering its fifth decade in business, Midwest Single Source is making some big changes at its central Wichita location.

The one-stop printing, office supply, corporate apparel and promotion company is in the midst of a renovation at its complex at 1501 E. First St. that will include a new showroom area, expanded break room and enhancements to its production facility.

With branches already in Topeka and Oklahoma City, company president Kevin Ulwelling said Midwest Single Source is likely to continue to grow, partially because of the popularity in digital printing. The company was founded in 1976.

Q: Best business advice you have received:

A: If you’re 80 percent prepared, go for it.

Q: Best business advice you have given:

A: If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Q: What sets your company apart?

A: The amount of products and services we offer is unparalleled, at least as far as I’ve seen. We can truly be a “single source” for just about anything your business needs. From general office supplies to corporate apparel, just one call can make it happen.

Q: What have you learned about your company by going through this process?

A: I’ve learned that, although we are constantly trying to improve ourselves, we’ve accomplished quite a bit over the last several years. We’re heading into our 40th year in business. Our involvement in the community is significant, and I attribute that to the relationships and partnerships we have with our customers.

Q: Why do you prefer to run your own business as opposed to working for someone else?

A: The challenge of it. There’s nobody else to point a finger at or blame. Obviously there are some advantages of being “in charge,” but the constant pressure is always there, and I seem to enjoy that.

Q: How has your business changed in the digital age?

A: Come to our digital print shop and I’ll show you about 2 million reasons how we’ve changed. It has certainly helped us. We have stayed ahead of the curve with technology and how consumers purchase. We were one of the first companies in the country that offered online ordering for office supplies. … Just about anything can be customized and in a customer’s hands with just a few clicks. Digital printing has grown every year. No longer are customers wanting to print 100,000 fliers to get a great cost. They’d rather pay a bit more and only print 1,000 of them and have them back quickly.

Q: What’s your company’s next goal?

A: To find new ways to generate revenue. Forty years ago we had just a few employees and made forms by hand. Today, we are in the range of 50 employees and office in multiple states. I’d like to see us continue to grow. We are always on the lookout for opportunities. It would be my inkling that through mergers and/or acquisitions, we hope to keep closing in on $20 million in annual sales.

Tier II

Name of business: Midwest Single Source

Year founded: 1976

Owner: John Osborne

President: Kevin Ulwelling

Address: 1501 E. First St.

Phone: 316-267-6333