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In 1957, the minimum wage was a dollar, tail fins on cars were big, Slinkys and Hula Hoops were the popular toys for kids, and Elvis Presley bought Graceland. At the same time, a Rolodex was the tool of choice for customer relationship management and mimeograph machines were the only rare business tool to make duplicates—but that was about to change.
My dad, Emery O. (E.O.) Johnson had been doing direct sales of adding machines to businesses, so he understood the importance of business relationships and listening, customer service, and standing behind the products you sell. One day when he was on a sales call, one of his customers made a duplicate of an invoice—on a machine he'd never seen before.
It was a copy machine.
He was gobsmacked. When he got home that night, he called 3M to learn more about this new technology. That put a series of events in motion that set his entrepreneurial spirit free: he got my mom's approval, cashed in two life insurance policies, rented a small location, and established EO Johnson Company.
It was a bold move, and it paid off. In seemingly no time at all, he was taking orders like crazy, helping people solve their business challenges and increasing their productivity with the best in business technologies.
Years later, when I was a teenager, I periodically joined the company to earn spending cash. Back then, you could have found me filing paperwork for the business. After college and an insurance career, I joined the company in 1985. Truly a family business, over the years, my mother, brother, grandfather, and daughter have all lent their talents to this company, and now my son is continuing the tradition. Throughout, it's been our goal to guide this organization with both heart and head; caring and empathy; guts and gumption.
It's been 65 years since my father first opened this family business. And while we still sell copiers, since our company's inception, we've also helped countless organizations improve operations, discover efficiencies, optimize processes and productivity, fulfill their print and finishing needs, secure their network, pivot to working remotely, and so much more. Our mission is to enhance the management, security, and access of business information.
Yes, our business has changed over the years, in tandem with the ever-changing world of technology and the needs of our clients. But at the heart of our business, we're still the same. We still care deeply for our customers, our communities, and our employees, as we have since the beginning. I know if he could be here today as we celebrate the achievement of our 65th year in business, my father would be incredibly proud of that.
We are still a family-owned and operated company, and I know Dad would be humbled that his legacy continues. I can't predict whether car fins or hula hoops will come back into vogue, but it's my family’s pledge that EO Johnson never goes out of style. And as long as we're blessed with the opportunity to serve, I hope the things that truly matter stay the same: that we continue to recruit and retain the best and brightest. That we take care of our communities. That we always treat customers the way we want to be treated.
Thank you to the vendors who have given us the opportunity to partner with you. Thank you to the professionals who have chosen this company as the beneficiary of your unique talents. Thank you to the families behind the scenes who send you on your way in the mornings, and welcome you home at day's end. And thank you to the customers who have trusted us to help make Your Business. Better. In doing so, you've made us better as well.
Congratulations to all of us who share in this 65th Anniversary celebration. May we have the guts and gumption to continue to shape the future of business for 65 more.
Watch our short video of EO Johnson Business Technologies through the years: