Frazier Office Supply has long had the slogan “Our Business is taking care of your Business” emblazoned across one of its walls, and its new owners have no intention of taking it down.
The 227 S. Main Street store is under new management, but owners Kris and Stephanie Smith are taking an “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” approach to a business that’s been in Pendleton for more than 100 years.
Kris Smith said he knew former owners Ron and Debbie Bates both socially and through his old job at Pioneer Title & Escrow, which ordered supplies through Frazier.
When Ron first brought up selling Frazier, Smith thought he was joking. But eventually, the Smiths got serious about acquiring the store.
“He threw out the bait and I took it,” Smith said.
The two couples started talking in April, and on Jan. 2 the Smiths were the newest owners of the venerable business.
Smith said regular customers are still getting used to seeing his face when they come into the store, but the transition is smoothed by Frazier’s veteran three-person work crew, which includes 15-year employee Lorrie Rigdon.
Frazier has managed to withstand the rise of big box stores and internet retailers as Main Street has become more geared toward restaurants and tourism-friendly businesses.
Smith said his plan to keep Frazier open for years to come is to keep executing its existing business model.
While Frazier isn’t able to sell supplies in large volumes, Smith said he can get most products to his clients within a day and there’s a built-in knowledge on customer orders that bigger retailers don’t have.
Frazier delivers to both Pendleton and Hermiston, and Smith said there’s a desire for many Umatilla County businesses to buy locally, a trend he doesn’t see going away.