On April 1, 1988, OfficeMax was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, by Michael Feuer (who served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer) along with seven other associates. On July 5 of that year, OfficeMax opened its first retail store in the Golden Gate Shopping Center in Mayfield Heights, Ohio (the location remains open today as store #1).
OfficeMax grew by acquisition, including its 1990 takeover of Office Square stores, previously owned by Kmart, in exchange for a 22% equity stake. In 1991, Kmart increased its stake in OfficeMax to 92%. The company acquired BizMart, its largest acquisition to date, in 1992. OW-Office Warehouse, a Virginia-based regional chain, was acquired in 1993. In 1995 OfficeMax was spun off of Kmart and became a NYSE-(OMX)-publicly-traded corporation, based in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Office Max, Inc.
For the next ten years OfficeMax and its rivals, STAPLES and Office Depot, continued to open new stores, saturating the market segment. OfficeMax developed regional delivery centers, and investing in its super-regional PowerMax distribution centers in Las Vegas, Nevada (North Las Vegas), Hazleton, Pennsylvania (Onida) and Birmingham, Alabama (McCalla). All the while OfficeMax had the worst money losing results of the three. In 2001-2003, OfficeMax began closing under-performing stores in some neighborhoods and in regions where it didn't have a strong presence. Staples and Office Depot considered merging, but that deal was called off. Of the three, it was OfficeMax that would be acquired; by Boise Cascade Office Products Corporation, which had a nationwide office supply delivery operation based in Itasca, Illinois. Boise had no bricks and mortar retail presence; their model used sales accounts people.
Boise Cascade, which bought OfficeMax in 2003, also owned the Cuban Electric Co. before it was seized by the Cuban government following the 1959 revolution that brought Castro to power. OfficeMax is the largest property claimant in Cuba.
Following the 2003 acquisition by Boise, OfficeMax has undergone numerous internal changes, including rebranding its copy and print centers from CopyMax to ImPress Print & Document Services. This change was primarily to prevent customers from getting the idea that it was only a copy service. In Q4 2006 the company rolled out a new branding for their printing and finishing service after finding that OfficeMax Print & Document Services was too sterile of a name. The current name for the printing department is OfficeMax ImPress. As part of a strategic partnership with VistaPrint, announced in 2007, ImPress is a white label, OfficeMax-branded web site for small business printing based on VistaPrint technologies.
The furniture section of the retail stores is often marketed separately as FurnitureMax, though officially only a few stores have true FurnitureMax sections, characterized by much larger selections than normal OfficeMaxes. OfficeMax has 867 retail stores in the USA (including Puerto Rico) and 43 locations in Mexico (through a joint venture), in addition to an on-line retailer in the USA (OfficeMax.com). In October 2004, Boise Cascade completed its sale of its paper, building products, and timberland assets. It then renamed itself OfficeMax.
In October 2008, Office Max began selling a limited selection of its products, mainly school supplies including reams of copy paper in Safeway stores nation wide, replacing rival office supply retailer Staples.
OfficeMax ImPress Print and Document Services
OfficeMax also features a business services department where there is a full range of printing, copying, finishing and design services.
First named CopyMax then later renamed to OfficeMax Print and Document Services (PDS) in 2005, and to OfficeMax ImPress Print and Document Services in 2007. OfficeMax has made several improvements to OfficeMax ImPress in recent years.
This department offers printing and copying services; scanning; design services; FedEx shipping; shredding; nameplates; outdoor signs and banners; awards and plaques; checks and forms; custom rubber, pre-inked, and self-inking stamps; logo merchandise such as T-shirts, pens, cups, keychains, etc.
MaxPerks customer reward program
OfficeMax offers a customer reward program, called [MaxPerks] where customers can earn cash back for future purchases. There are two types of MaxPerks programs: MaxPerks for Business and MaxPerks for Teachers.
The MaxPerks for Business program is intended for any customer. The MaxPerks for Business program allows all customers to obtain a reward card that give the customer $25 back for $500 in purchases of instore or online products.
The MaxPerks for Teachers program is a reward program designed for teachers, however cardholders receive $10 for every $75 they spend. The MaxPerks for Teachers program also allows teachers to get extra school supply money by allowing them to give their MaxPerks number to their students, which allows them to receive benefits throughout the school year. In addition, teachers are allowed to purchase twice the limit for sales items.
As of January 1 the ink recycling program has been revised limiting to $60 in rewards per month for ink cartridges(compared to the $30/week prior). More brands now can be recycled for credit, see the site for full details.
MaxAssurance is a service that OfficeMax offers on furniture, electronics under $400, electronics over $400 and computers. The only things MaxAssurance does not protect against are loss, theft, and intentional damage. The plans are also renewable and transferable.
Furniture MaxAssurance For chairs the plan covers broken casters and wheels and normal wear and tear to the upholstery, including seam separation. For furniture the plan covers structural defects and dovetail construction, lifting, cracking, peeling or scaling of solid woods, laminated finishes and veneers, warping, cracking and the breaking of frames or legs. The plan starts 31 days from the date of purchase and is good for three years.
Electronics under $200 This plan is a replacement plan. If a product fails, contact customer service and simply return the failed product to the replacement depot using the pre-paid shipping label. Once the product is received, "NEW" will send you an OfficeMax gift card for the total purchase, plus tax if applicable. This plan covers normal wear and tear, defects in workmanship and materials, mechanical and electrical breakdowns, power surges (from day one), environmental factors, such as heat, dust and humidity and accidental damage from handling.
Recent changes On November 9, 2008, OfficeMax altered its MaxAssurance program to offer a wider range of pricing options specific to the type of product purchased. This new program offers unique plans and pricing for printers, desktop computers, laptops, shredders, and digital cameras. All other types of electronics and products with moving parts have replacement or service plans priced at the same Item Cost to Plan Price ratios.
On July 25, 2010, OfficeMax changed MaxAssurance yet again, now offering a forth year of coverage to laptops with protection plans priced at $149.99 and higher for an additional 25 dollar charge. On top of the additional forth year of coverage, this plan also included a one time battery replacement.
Aside from covering digital cameras for accidental damage from the first day of purchase, the methods of replacement and service have remained nearly identical.
In Q1 2006, OfficeMax closed 110 under-performing domestic stores, and is opening 70 new stores with the new award winning "Advantage" store layout. The "Advantage" store design is supposed to be more customer friendly and includes improvements in all major departments inside an OfficeMax store. The company plans to remodel most or all of its stores to the new Advantage layout.
As of Wednesday, January 27, 2009, OfficeMax shares opened trading at $6.19 per share.
In the fall of 2009, OfficeMax shares have rebounded from their nearly $2.00 average during the first quarter of the year. As of October 14, 2009 shares are trading at $14.00 per share.
OfficeMax ink refilling kiosk
Starting in 2005 and ending early 2006, OfficeMax tested a semi-automated ink refill station in their stores in the Chicago area. Customers could bring in old HP, Lexmark, Dell, or Compaq cartridges, and have them tested and refilled for less than the cost of new cartridges. As of July 2006, OfficeMax outfitted all of their high profit stores with the ink refill machines. Due to the complexity of Canon cartridges, the OfficeMax Ink Kiosk is unable to refill them. This is mainly because Canon uses a colored dye in their cartridges, not ink. The electronic contacts are also digitally altered in such a way that the Ink Kiosk cannot read them.
In 2010, an ink refill program was reinstated and select stores were issued ink refill machines.
OfficeMax ink recycling program
In 2005, OfficeMax began accepting any empty HP, Dell, or Lexmark inkjet or toner cartridges in exchange for a free OfficeMax brand ream of paper, with a limit of 5 per customer, per day, or an option to take $3.00 off their current purchase. (The same limit of 5 applied to the $3.00 off, with a minimum of purchase amount that matched or exceeded the coupon). This was then changed in October 2006 due to many customers abusing the program. At that time, OfficeMax only offered the $3.00 instore discount, with a limit of 5, for only HP, Lexmark, Dell, and Canon. In the fall of 2007 Canon was no longer participating in the program. The cartridges were also required to be brand name, and cannot be previously recycled or refilled cartridges.
In July 2008, OfficeMax restructured their ink recycling program. Customers will no longer receive an in store credit for cartridges returned. Customers bringing in qualifying empty ink cartridges will instead receive a $3 reward to their MaxPerks account for up to ten (10) cartridges and thirty ($30) dollars in rewards a week. OfficeMax is only accepting genuine HP, Dell, and Lexmark cartridges. Customers can check on their rewards through the new MaxPerks website.
On January 1, 2010, the program changed again, now with all brands being accepted, as long as they are ink cartridge and not ink tanks, for example the HP 02 series. Meaning, the cartridges have to have the print head on them. Members can now turn up to 20 per month, instead of 10 per week. Recycling toner has not changed, aside from more brands being accepted. Finally, in order to use your rewards, you need to have spent the equivalent with your MaxPerks card. The bulk recycling program was also eliminated as of January 1, 2010.
CTRL-Center web-based services
OfficeMax launched a line of web-based services in 2007. These services range from virus/spyware removal from a computer (PC Restoration) to the set-up and installation of a new computer (New PC Set-up and File Transfer).
Services offered include both in-home and web-based PC restoration, wireless network setup, software and peripheral installation, online data backup, new PC setup and file transfer, and online training for popular office software titles.
A Day Made Better
On October 2, 2007 at 10am OfficeMax in partnership with Adopt-A-Classroom surprised 1,000 teachers with a box of supplies worth about $1,200. Majority of schools selected were Title 1 schools, in which 40% or more of the student body is subsidized with the free school lunch program. The teacher selected was nominated by the school's principal based on merit. The cause program has gone on to win national awards including the Peter Glen Award at the 2008 Retail Advertising & Marketing Association conference.
Back for its second year, in October 2008 OfficeMax surprised more than 1,200 teachers across the nation. Other new additions include celebrity involvement and the launch of a new website.
In 2005, OfficeMax was investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in regards to "accounting for vendor income." According to OfficeMax, the company had falsified $3.3 million in rebate claims owed by its suppliers. Six employees were fired in connection with the issue. In early November, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission completed the probe and recommended no enforcement action.
In 2008 OfficeMax was targeted by protesters asking it to keep a promise that was made to protect indigenous rights. Logging in Canada’s Whiskey Jack Forest to supply the paper pulp industry is opposed by the Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation people.
On June 1, 2008, store employees were given word that the company would be undergoing a massive managerial restructuring. Assistant store manager positions in logistics and sales were merged into one position and all supervisor positions were eliminated. Fewer new positions were created with two key-carrying specialists, in furniture and technology, and a merchandising manager and/or operations supervisor in select stores. Store management (excluding store managers and the ImPress supervisor) were to re-apply and re-interview for the new positions, often receiving lower wages, in order to remain with the company. The company announced the layoffs of 2,700 employees on June 25, 2008.
In spring 2008 OfficeMax started to sell recycled products for a company called TerraCycle. OfficeMax now carries trash and recycling cans (made from computer cases), Eco binders (made from 100% recycled cardboard and paper), natural all purpose and window cleaners (made from old 1 liter soda bottles and non-toxic cleaners using a plant based formula) and pencil cases (made from Kool-Aid and Capri Sun pouches). The products and packaging are made entirely from waste, reducing the amount of garbage going to landfills. OfficeMax offers and stocks more than 1,700 products with recycled content.
In the ImPress department customers can upgrade from 30 percent to 100 percent post-consumer paper for a limited time at no charge. All OfficeMax ImPress self-serve copy machines have been outfitted with "Think in Green" stickers to encourage customers to take advantage of this offer.
On July 2, 2008 it was announced that OfficeMax will be getting rid of all the vending machines in the employee break rooms to help reduce their energy use, yet the company still leaves about 10% of the lights on for security purposes in all retail store overnight. This is a change from a year ago when the company left about 50% of the lights on. They will also be increasing the employee discount on soda, candy and other snack foods.
On July 4, 2008 it was announced that to offset the associate discount on the candy and soda, prices would increase by 10% on the two. Bringing the new employee discount to 20% on candy and pop.