Businesses share success stories at Commerce Chenango breakfast

NORWICH – Despite the down economy, a number of Chenango companies have still managed to grow their businesses and create jobs over the last few years. Area business leaders had the opportunity to hear four of these success stories Wednesday as part of Commerce Chenango’s “Good Morning, Chenango!” breakfast series.

The breakfast, which took place at Fred’s Inn Restaurant in Norwich, was sponsored by Sidney Federal Credit Union.

Jim Doig of SFCU was one of the event’s featured speakers. He was joined by Chris Hayes of Hayes Office Products, Jim Henderson of Golden Artist Colors and Keven Bucklin of Agro Farma.

Each was introduced in turn by Commerce Chenango President Maureen Carpenter, who applauded all four companies for the “amazing progress” they’ve made and the jobs created.

Hayes Office Products

Chris Hayes, who owns Hayes Office Products with wife Missy, was the first to address the business leaders in attendance.

“We’re the small guy,” said Hayes, explaining the business model for the family-owned office products company which serves commercial and retail customers in the greater Norwich area.

According to the small business owner, the company employs six full-time employees – including himself and his wife – and five part-time staff members. Last year, they recorded $1.8 million in sales. Business-to-business customers comprise roughly 75 percent of the business, he explained, with the remainder generated by retail sales at their 6 E. Main St. location.

Hayes described the challenges of his industry and how the company uses technology and service to compete against big box retailers and online rivals.

“We’re small, and with that size comes flexibility,” he said, explaining that this helped them avoid layoffs during the downturn.

The business has also been affected by global trends.

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