The end of summer is my favorite time of the year.
Sounds crazy, I know.
Let me explain: For the past fifteen years or so, I have spent every August buzzing with boyhood anticipation, gearing up for far too many weeks, getting sleeping bags, flashlights, cigars, Red Vines (never Twizzlers!), golf clubs, and sunscreen ready for a beloved annual summer excursion. Finally, on that glorious, long-awaited day in late August, I drive west with the top down over to the Oregon Coast to spend a fun, carefree week with my best buddies.
About a hundred of us guys get together at a local summer camp after the kids clear out, spending our days playing golf and poker and our nights laughing ourselves to sleep in the cabins. “Men’s Camp,” as we all call it, exists primarily as a giant fundraiser to give aid to families who cannot afford to send their kids to camp. It’s “for the kids” yes, but it’s for us too. It’s a pretty great cause.
About five years into my Men’s Camp career, I got roped into writing a daily satirical “newspaper” with a few other guys which we then distribute throughout the week. A labor of love, it is, on that rare occasion, pretty darned funny.
This year was the tenth anniversary of our newspaper and so I thought it would be appropriate to do something celebratory to commemorate it. I decided to collect all of the issues, get them nicely bound, and then give them to my four fellow contributors as a gift.
Excited about this idea, I raced over to the copy center down the street, which turned out to be my big mistake of the day. The machines were antiquated, not at all self-explanatory, and there weren’t any employees who knew enough to help me on this project. Because all the paper’s issues varied in color, size, and formatting, I really needed someone who knew what they were doing. Unfortunately, that person was not to be found, anywhere.
The copy center being a bust, I left. Then it hit me – my pals at Staples would surely be the solution. Having worked with Staples for years, and having been a customer of my local store for even longer, I was confident they could help me.
I was right.
Upon entering the store, immediately to my right, was the Print and Marketing Center – bright and welcoming. I was warmly greeted by the Print and Marketing Services supervisor, Chandler, standing behind a color-coded counter chock-full of binding options, samples for customers, and help guides galore. Compared to the previous copy center, this place felt like I had entered the modern world.
I presented Chandler with my pile of loose, multi-colored, variegated papers and my problem. Chandler was unfazed. “Sure, come on,” she said with casual and authentic eagerness, guiding me over to the copy machine. The display screen was an easy-to-use Android tablet, showing four big colorful bubbles: Print, Copy, Scan, Fax. The directions on the screen remained just as simple as the process continued; I didn’t encounter a single problem in attaining the consistently formatted copies that I needed.
And how about this: The Staples Do-It-Yourself machines offered multiple ways to retrieve files to be copied: you can easily plug in your USB flash drive while using the copy machine, or, if there’s an e-mail you need printed, you can forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the person working will convert your document into a PDF, then give you a code to access and print that updated document. Pretty neat.
I had emphasized to Chandler how much I wanted these bound books to really look great and last for a long time, and so she suggested that I should have Staples Print & Marketing Services professionally bind them. Bingo! Finally someone who not only understood my needs but had the capacity to do the job right. The bound books would turn out to be an elegant, affordable, simple solution, no messy caveats to be found. “Five days – tops,” Chandler told me.
As we all know, working for yourself has its own set of challenges: we don’t have a big team of experts on our side, nor do we have a large corporate budget from which to work. So, when the time comes for you to put together a sleek proposal, some employee handbooks, new menus, or what have you, you need to find the right partners; folks who ‘get’ small business. People like the Staples Print & Marketing Services team can help with everything from large printing jobs, to lamination, binding, specialty paper, and more. (For even more business help, check out the Staples Business Center.)
I got the books back a few days ago (under five days, as Chandler promised) and they look absolutely fantastic. My friends are thrilled with the gift, and I know we will all treasure them for years to come.
So trust me when I say that with the help of Staples, I definitely was able to ‘Make More Happen.’ As a result, we are fired up to raise even more money for the kids, (and maybe have a nice cigar as we do.)