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Springfield, MO

Mike Kelly and Byron Pearson work together to grow Pearson-Kelly Office Products, which surpassed the $1 million mark in 2007.
Mike Kelly and Byron Pearson work together to grow Pearson-Kelly Office Products, which surpassed the $1 million mark in 2007.

2008 Small Business of the Year Finalist: Pearson-Kelly Office Products

Posted online
Address: 2013 W. Woodland St.

Employees: 9

Office equipment sales and service company Pearson-Kelly Office Products is the classic small-business startup story.

Founder Byron Pearson started the business in 2002 out of his garage, after the company he worked for was purchased by Ikon and the new owners wanted to move him out of management.

“They were going to ... keep me on as a service technician,” Pearson said. “I decided to leave; there wasn’t really a place out there I wanted to work for, and my wife was behind me, so we started this company.”

While Pearson had nearly 20 years of industry service experience at the time, he needed someone with sales expertise.

That’s when Mike Kelly, a major account representative for Ikon with nearly 20 years of sales experience, entered the picture.

“I always wanted to have my own business, but I didn’t know anything about the service side of the business,” Kelly said, noting that he convinced Pearson to sell him 50 percent ownership in the business in 2004.

“It was the best sale I made all year,” Kelly joked.

The combination of Pearson’s service knowledge and Kelly’s sales expertise has spelled success for the nine-employee company; revenues have grown from $125,000 in its first year to more than $1 million in 2007.

The owners attribute the growth to acquisitions – the company has purchased two smaller businesses, Progressive Business Systems and Kolar-Henderson Business Solutions, since 2004 – and customer service.

“We try to over-deliver on what we promise,” Kelly said. [[In-content Ad]]

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