Office-supply standby Arvey Paper set to close

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One of the city's most popular spots to buy paper and office supplies is scheduled to close next month as part of a nationwide consolidation by its parent company.

Arvey Paper & Office Products at 1021 Pennsylvania St. has served hundreds of small and medium-size businesses and organizations, including printing shops and churches, for more than 25 years.

The shop, which offers paper by the case, ream and sheet, along with office equipment and supplies, is slated to close at the end of April following a liquidation sale, said Scott Aldridge, the store's manager. The company also plans to put its building at Pennsylvania and 10th streets up for sale.

Arvey is part of the Xpedx chain of print shops, which are owned by Memphis-based International Paper Co. The chain has been shedding stores for about two years, from a peak of 140 locations.

Ultimately, 13 stores will remain open, including one in Park 100 along 86th Street on the city's northwest side, but the remaining shops will serve only larger customers who make orders of $350 or more.

Aldridge and the other six local Arvey employees are hopeful a local investor will buy the business, which Aldridge described as "healthy." The shop, which is open to the public, posts revenue of about $300,000 per month.

Small print shops could be first to feel the squeeze from the Arvey closure. Tight margins don't allow the shops to keep much paper in stock.

"A lot of people are worried where they're going to get their paper," said Jeanette Ray, office manager for locally based Triangle Printing Co. at Virginia and Lexington avenues. "Nowadays, everyone wants their jobs turned in a few days. It was easy to run down to Arvey and get what was needed. Now it may take a little longer."

Triangle has been using Millcraft Paper Co. on the east side for several months, anticipating the Arvey closure, said Ray, whose husband used to manage the Arvey paper shop.

Business customers aren't the only ones who will miss Arvey.

Catherine Flynn, a Woodruff Place resident who visits the shop every few months for office supplies, is trying to get the word out to help save the shop.

"You see businesses come and go but we would really miss Arvey's," Flynn said. "It's just so convenient, the people give you so much personal attention, and it's always busy."

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