While The Office Place was started in its current incarnation in 1997 with the launching of theofficeplace.com, its story actually begins over 50 years prior. That’s when Norma and Scott Summerville realized their dream of opening a business to provide office supplies to the then booming business market of Akron, OH. In 1941 Summervilles’ Inc. was founded, providing what was to be one of the first of its kind retail facilities for office supplies and equipment. This type of innovation would come to characterize the company over the years, as Norma Summerville became the president of the dealership 1961 – something almost unheard of in corporate America.
They were one of the first to provide a showroom to showcase both new and used office furniture with the opening of their landmark location at 800 S. Broadway, for which they were given the Geyer’s Award for Outstanding Promotion in the office dealers. They were an integral part of the formation of the IMOK Group, a loose organization of non-competing dealers in the Midwest who would meet periodically to share ideas and discuss common concerns, long before buying groups were a part of the office products and furniture industry.
In 1987 the tradition was passed down to a new generation, as the business was purchased by Norma and Scott’s son, John ‘Skip’ Summerville, who had been working in the business for 14 years.
Skip continued the tradition of innovation in his management of the firm, using office furniture to create a niche for the business in the growing mid-market segment that was active in the Northeast Ohio region. Summervilles’ handled furniture from the likes of Chairworld, Anderson Hickey, Gunlocke, GF, Sandusky, Global and Lacasse. It was in 1994 that Skip first conceived of a new retail store that would focus on the home and small/home office segment of the market.
That was when he opened the first The Office Place location, across the street from the Summervilles’ facility. This store focused on value priced fully RTA products that would appeal to small and home offices and home furnishings. Products like those manufactured by Regency
In 1997 Skip took The Office Place to the internet with theofficeplace.com, one of the first e-tailers of office suppliers, furniture, electronics and services. In 2006, the retail operation moved to a new facility on Romig Road in south Akron, and ownership of the company transitioned to a third generation with the arrival of Aaron Summerville, Skip’s son who had recently returned to the Akron area after living in Chicago. In January of 2012, The Office Place launched the current version of its website. With the addition of a webmaster to its staff, theofficeplace.com has increased its monthly run rate by 250% in 2012 through strategic new product expansions and online keyword marketing. And it is our belief that we can continue this strong pace of expansion with the addition of the Bush’s Home Office furnishings, and the Kathy Ireland Office collection.