Bolen Office Supply, a business tradition in Pratt

Grace May
Pratt Tribune
Bolen Office Supply co-owner Bob Bolen talking on the phone with a customer.

Pratt is home to many small-town businesses. One such business Pratt people may have seen on Main Street is Bolen Office Supply, which has been here since 1978. This family business was started by Bob and Dale Bolen and has grown greatly since its beginning.

The business sells office supplies. They have furniture, printing supplies, machines — most of what is needed in an office. All businesses need office supplies, so Bolen Office Supply has become woven into the community.

The business has a large audience of customers. Anyone, from hospitals to auto shops to farmer co-ops, who needs office supplies can go to Bolen Office Supply.

Last year, they took a hit in sales due to COVID-19, but they have been steadily growing back to where they were. They worked with their customers, sticking to the mandates that businesses put up. It was important to respect their parameters.

This endurance through COVID-19 ties into one of the main values of Bolen Office Supply: customer appreciation. They call on every customer every three weeks, so they know all of their customers and their needs.

“It's hard to bring back a customer once you lose them, so customer appreciation is the main thing that we strive for,” said Bob Bolen, co-owner and vice president.

Daniel Rainer, service technician at Bolen Office Supply, works at the computer.

There are other important values held at Bolen Office Supply, such as hard work and honesty.

When asked what advice he would give to someone starting their own business, Bolen said, “Well you’ve got to know what you’re doing, be honest, and you’ve got to work for it. You’ve got to want it bad enough that you’re willing to work for it.”

There is a large sense of community in the business. Around half of the customers of Bolen Office Supply come from Pratt, and the business gives back by being a part of different organizations and donating money.

“The main way we give back is when high school kids come in, or grade school kids come in; we give donations and that kind of thing. We donate to the hospital, and of course, we are members of the Chamber of Commerce,” Bolen said.

Clerical Gayle Bolen writing down information.

The community affects the small-town business in other ways as well.

In Pratt, “it’s hard to recruit new employees,” said Bolen, but he also noted the town is a good place to have a business and to raise a family. “Dale and I graduated from Pratt High School. Both of us graduated from Pratt JUCO. Except my four years in the Air Force, we’ve been here forever."

Bolen Office Supply is a tradition in the town of Pratt.

“The Bolens created a great business opportunity and work environment here,” employee Karissa Schelling said.

For anyone interested, Bolen Office Supply has a website at http://www.bolenofficesupply.net.