J.P. Gasway

Responsive - Innovative - Trusted

The Paper Merchant Advantage

I have often said that if we cannot get an order from a printer, I would want one of our paper merchant competitors to get it rather than having the order leave the merchant channel entirely. That is how strongly I believe in the benefits the merchant brings to their customers. Other purchasing options, such as office superstores, mail or internet ordering, “seconds houses”, and warehouse clubs are among the non-merchant channels I refer to. Therefore, when I was asked to write about “Five things I would like readers to know about our company” I decided that expressing the benefits our merchant channel brings to the market would be beneficial for the readers of this publication.

Paper merchants, often called distributors, represent a wide variety of mills and products. Types of merchants are usually broken down into either:

1.       Fine, which sell only printing papers and supplies

2.       Industrial, which sell things like custodial products and packaging materials

3.       Dual “Houses” such as our company, which carry both fine and industrial.

A typical warehouse will have several thousand different items in stock and tens of thousands more available in just a few days. When you add in packaging materials such as bubble, mailing bags, tape, pallet film and shrink wrap, a paper merchant truly can be a “one stop shop”.

While all companies proclaim service is important, the merchant takes it a step beyond. Delivery is only one small component of their service “palette”. Suggestions and advice on what paper to use on a particular job are frequently asked for and given. Samples to test, either on press or on electronic equipment is a common request as the printer wants their customer to have the best possible final product. Swatch books, printer material and access to other industry knowledge are common items distributed throughout the print community by paper merchants.

Of course service after the sale is critical for the printer. If a paper problem should arise there is no better source for complaint resolution than a paper merchant. We will gather necessary  samples, advise of options, obtain replacement stock if needed and consult with mill personnel and have them come in to help resolve the situation if deemed necessary. All this is done while acting on behalf of the printer as their advocate.

Paper merchants are educators as well. In addition to the aforementioned sampling procedures, our segment of the industry brings suppliers closer to the printers by bringing mill representatives to the area. This allows the mill to have a good understanding of what happens at a certain customer, what their needs are and how to best meet those needs. Some companies, such as ours, also provide a Specification Representative, who visits with designers, agencies and corporate communication personnel as well as assist in their sample, swatch and industry knowledge needs. This resource is invaluable, but is provided at NO COST to the recipient. Finally, some firms will provide classes or less formal “knowledge training” on paper and related topics. Every time we do one of these training sessions we receive such positive commentary we begin planning for the next one!

Lastly, your area paper merchant is involved in the community, supporting many of the same causes that you, as a printer, support. We serve on boards and committees. We plan events and attend them. We donate paper, time and effort to local or area projects. Typically, these are the things the other channels cannot and do not provide.

For all the reasons above (and plenty not listed) your area paper merchant provides the customer with so much more than a competitive price and a quality product. When you need them, they answer. After all, as it has been said, “If your car won’t start do you want your auto mechanic a thousand miles away!” The merchant can provide all these things from your own backyard.


Scott Gasway

JP Gasway President

History of Paper

We associate paper with writing or books which makes it easy to forget its many other uses. Paper is not just for books, but for packaging, cleaning and a host of other applications.

Though the Egyptians were known for their use of papyrus more than 4,000 years ago and the Chinese wrote on parchment made of bamboo, the invention of paper as we know it did not come until the Han Dynasty and is credited to Cai Lun. Cai Lun was a court official who, around 105 BC, thought to combine natural materials like tree bark, fibers pulled from rags and fishnet. His process involved beating the material into pulp which was made to hold paper together in sheets more easily.

After its origin in China, the production and use of paper spread steadily as did its production process. During the 8th Century Chinese the production of paper spread to the Islamic world. During the 11th Century paper was introduced in Europe and by the 13th Century the process of producing paper was refined with paper mills using waterwheels. In the 19th Century the invention of wood-based papers came along.

Thanks to the ideas of a few and work of many, paper has become a rich and colorful history which spans across the world and involves us all.

Guy Stoecker

How Do You Value Customer Service?

Are customers willing to pay more to ensure they obtain top notch customer careWhat is your definition of excellent customer service? 

I would respond to this as ensuring the customer or client is satisfied with the whole sales experience.  That includes the product or service provided, the delivery, and other components of the purchase.  It also means coming up with positive solutions in the event there is a problem.  Simply having a reputation of quality service is not enough – it must be seen in action! it is vital that the customer’s experience lives up to or exceeds their expectations. 

Does good customer service have a value?  I like to think so!  How would you respond?

Our goal is that you always have a positive experience with the JPG team.  You can take that to the bank!

Georgia Pacific

Since we are a distributor of Georgia Pacific Paper Products I thought a little history of the company would be worth looking into.

In 1927 G.P. (Georgia Pacific) was founded in the great city of Augusta, GA. Yes, yes, the same place where the greatest golf event takes place every year, The Master’s. It was originally founded as Georgia Hardwood Lumber Company, a lumber wholesaler. It operated five saw mills at that time that employed most of the city. In 1948 it changed it’s name and became known as Georgia-Pacific Plywood & Lumber Company. Again in 1956, it changed it’s name. This time to Georgia Pacific Corporation and has maintained that same name for 63 years.

In 1963 the company shifted it’s attention to the tissue business, introducing the Coronet Brand. Now, fast forward 37 years to 2000 and the company acquired Ft. James Paper Company, the Brawny Brand, Quilted Northern and Dixie which is what we know them for today.

From the time the company was founded in 1927 Georgia Pacific the company has never stopped growing. It started in one small building in the small town of Augusta, GA and has since expanded to more than 300 locations around the world with brands that are extremely well known in every part of the world. You can’t walk through a grocery or wholesale store without seeing one of their products somewhere on a shelf. A few of those brands are Angel Soft, Sparkle, Vanity Fair, Dixie and the list goes on. All products listed are ones that our company offers and stocks in our Hiawatha location.

If ever in need of a great product that the world trusts and uses daily never hesitate to jump on the G.P. line. And if you ever have any questions as to what product would best suit your needs, let us know. We’d be happy to help guide you in the right direction and provide a little history along the way!

Loyalty In Business

So I was talking with one of my customers the other day about our beloved Iowa Hawkeyes Basketball Team. We were discussing how we could make better coaching decisions as well as plays as players most of the time. Of course this is just thoughts as I know I really can’t go dunk on the guys in the B1G. But, the thing we will always do is remain “loyal” to the team because we appreciate them and their efforts even though the outcome for some games is not what we hoped and/or anticipated.

This led me to thinking about all of my customers… do they get frustrated with me? Probably. Are there times when I could do more for them? Possibly. But, those customers continue to stay “loyal” to myself and our company because day in and day out I give them my full effort and attention when needed. This is what is important in business – loyalty. I am loyal to my customers in providing them exceptional service as well as effort put forth. In turn, they are loyal to myself and our company because they know at the end of the day I am going to give 110% to make their business succeed and provide them the products they need to make that happen.

Loyalty is what is important to me. As long as I have loyal customers I am continually assisting, I will keep my day job and leave the coaching decisions as well as slam dunks to the basketball team.

— Mike O’Donnell

Paper Connections

I recently traveled 2,000 miles to replace white snow with white sand and warm weather.   Upon our arrival to Punta Cana, while waiting to go through customs, I struck up a conversation with a couple that ended up being from a small town in Wisconsin, a town they were sure I’d never heard of, Keiler Wisconsin.  As a matter of fact I told them, we travel through Kieler several times a year when heading to Lansing Iowa to go fishing, so indeed I knew exactly where Kieler was. 

Continuing our conversation, I asked the now retired gentlemen, what he had done for a living and was told he worked as a service tech for Xerox for over 30 years.  We both chuckled when I told him I was in paper distribution and to not always blame the paper, in fact don’t ever blame the paper! 

Later in the week, while enjoying some pool time, a travel mug with a big red “W” on it, indicated to me that some other folks were also from Wisconsin.  (When you follow college basketball and football you know these things).  This group again told me they were from a town I probably wouldn’t recongnize…..Nekoosa, Wisconsin.  I said, as in Nekoosa Paper???  Turns out all three of the guys in the group, work for the paper mill which is now owned by Domtar.  I told them that several years ago (close to 30)  I had taken a mill trip to Nekoosa and was introduced to the production process of paper manufacturing.  I remembered selling Nekoosa Bond, Mimeo, Duplicator, Nekoosa Offset, Nekoosa Linen & Laid which were all sheets they all remembered well.  The industry is different now and the plant’s manufacturing focus has changed, but it was fun to strike up a conversation and realize that paper connects us all in many ways. 

My connection(s) was in the manufacturing and distribution aspect, all discussed while on vacation.  Does this mean the trip itself is a tax write-off?