The holiday season has special meaning for the 30 employees at Yuletide Office Solutions. The company started in 1972 during the Christmas season. Every package includes a candy cane, the company’s marketing centers on the color red and drivers wear red shirts. Even company president Chris Miller wears a Christmas tie year round.
It all goes back to Paul Miller Sr. who needed a solution to supply his publishing company. But he also knew he needed a hook to make his business unique.
“My father was very good at marketing and he thought about what brings smiles and of course it was Christmas,” Chris Miller said.
The result was Yuletide Office Supply, a company that focused on the office supply business starting in 1972.
“My father couldn’t get his office supplies, which is why he got into the business. That and another reason was to train his sons how to sell,” Miller said. “He wasn’t going to keep the business going. It was to teach us how to sell to ultimately go into his publishing business.”
Miller joined the company when he was 16. He had no desire to join the publishing world. Now, 44 years later, Miller is still with the business. It’s evolved to its current name Yuletide Office Solutions that better reflects its far-reaching focus that includes janitorial and safety supplies, printing, promotional, furniture and office space design.
“Our customers asked and we made it happen,” Miller said about the added focuses. “They came to us because we were so good at what we did and asked if we do furniture and space design. It’s easier to deal with one company for what would be six companies to cover those areas. I am excited about the direction Yuletide is headed, and looking forward to the future.”
Yuletide Office Solutions’ customers run a range of businesses in and around the Mid-South area, some of which have larger regional and national reaches. Miller said he appreciates the companies that work with Yuletide and work to support Memphis small businesses. He and Yuletide Office Solutions, in turn, work to support the local community.
For Miller it all started in his early 20s when he realized how fortunate he was both personally and professionally with the support the young business received from the community.
“I was pretty young when I realized how blessed I was with the support the Mid-South gave our business,” he said.
Miller personally gave back through service on various organizations’ boards of directors. It’s something that continues for him, whether it’s involvement with the Greater Memphis Chamber or being a master gardener, which requires he volunteer at least 40 hours a year in the community.
And the work is companywide. For example, Yuletide began to support the Meritan Midnight Classic Bike Tour, which had its 18th annual event in August.
“We’ve been involved in that since it started,” Miller said.
Other Memphis organizations Yuletide Office Solutions supports include Church Health and Mid-South Food Bank.
Support of Mid-South Food Bank sees Yuletide go outside its namesake holiday season and actually focus its work during the summer when some younger Memphians struggle with food access. As a program ambassador, Miller helped get 33 companies on board for the food collection effort this year.
Yuletide Office Solutions then used its fleet of delivery trucks to go around and pick up boxes of food donations to take to the food bank.
“There are all these programs that feed kids at school and they don’t have that during the summer,” Miller said. “The Mid-South Food Bank serves 31 counties and there are organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs that put food in backpacks on Fridays so children have food to eat on weekends. That’s one of the most important things is food.”
The Mid-South Food Bank reached out to Yuletide Office Solutions. Miller said it’s a natural fit for his company.
“The need is there and our trucks cover the whole city and parts of Arkansas,” he said. “It doesn’t take a whole lot for me if I see a way we can be involved. And if someone makes it easy for me I can make it happen. I’m a can-do person.”
Another way Yuletide Office Solutions is able to give back to the community by the simple act of lending its equipment is through assisting the Porter-Leath Toy Truck. Yuletide sponsors the annual event that takes place in early December. The Toy Truck began in 2000 as a way to provide gifts to thousands of Porter-Leath children during the holidays.
Donors are encouraged to give monetary gifts or new, unwrapped toys, which is where Yuletide’s truck fleet comes in handy.
“They came to us because they thought it might be a good fit with our name,” Miller said. “They had a proposal and we bought into it. That’s a good partnership because it fits. It’s a great cause making these kids’ Christmas. We had 33 companies signed up this year.”
Miller said it’s not hard for businesses to give back, particularly if they find a place in the community to give back that fits their niche. Because of his company’s role as a supplier to other businesses, they have natural relationships that make encouraging others to get involved easier.
“People are willing to help if you make it easy for them,” he said. “You just keep connecting the dots and get good people on your team and you can make things happen.”
Yuletide Office Solutions makes community involvement part of the hiring process. New hires understand the company wants them involved in at least two nonprofit projects each year. Miller believes it’s an easy but effective way to instill a culture of giving back within the company, one that others can emulate.
“I would ask that every company when they do their hiring that it be part of the hiring process to encourage people to give back to the community,” he said. “Pick a couple of organizations they’d like to help, whether it’s with volunteer hours or monetary giving.”
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