J.P. Gasway

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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

The Magazine In The Waiting Room

Recently, I found myself sitting in a vet clinic waiting room dealing with a bad batch of pup chow. Recommendation for dog owners... check expiration dates before buying. The aftermath is not enjoyable. However, at 8:20 in the morning it appears everyone in the vet waiting room is doing the same thing... staring at a screen and getting updates. Whether it be Facebook, a News outlet, or just texting - everyone was on their phone.

And then there is me. The paper guy. I have a 75 lb. yellow lab tucked between my legs who is terrified of the vet and of course the 4 lb. baby kitten across the room has him thinking he is a lap dog due to pure fear of the small creature. Spoiler alert - my dog is a wimp named Tank. Very fitting. Anyway, it's a recipe for disaster so I move to another seat. And as I move I notice something... a BIG stack of magazines. I don't know about you, but for me it's essentially a jackpot. Some people wouldn't call reading a 6 month old edition of Sports Illustrated a jackpot, but to each their own.

See, I remember the days of having to make the dreaded trip to the doctor or dentist without phones, tablets, or any other fancy device that provided distraction. The days when all you had were those crumpled 6 month old magazines that covered anything from sports to recipes. And it seemed my parents, particularly my Mom, would always grab one to look over and discuss. As a kid, I hated this. I read and discussed in school - no need to do that at the doctor's office in my opinion. But, time changes things I guess and as I was reading an article out of Home & Garden about how to make your yard "Pop in the spring of 17" (It's Fall season already and Sports Illustrated wasn't available), I noticed a lady next to me somewhat glancing at the article over my shoulder. I made a joke about the article, she chuckled and we started talking.

Next thing you know, the 4 or 5 of us sitting there were all talking. We talked about the weather, our pets, road construction and of course the kittens that were still making my dog shiver with fear. As we talked I noticed all phones were out of sight and people were interacting. This went on for what seemed like hours, but it was maybe 15 minutes. When conversations are enjoyable, you don't pay attention to time I guess.

One by one as everyone was called back to see the vet people would say good luck or what not as they left, but the conversation kept on with those remaining. As the last customer was called back I said my good lucks and went back to my article that I was reading prior. I didn't even get the 2nd paragraph finished before it was our turn to see the vet. As I put the magazine down, side stepped our way around the terrifying kittens and headed back to Room one I thought back to some of those doctor visits in my childhood. My parents would always be talking with someone in the waiting room. Sometimes it seemed like it was a best friend and they wouldn't even know their name. But, it always started with a magazine.

Maybe that's the point of out dated magazines in waiting rooms or maybe that's just another benefit of paper. A light read and the possibility to shoot the breeze with others. I'm sure my Mom never read the actual magazine, but I know she had a lot of good conversations over the years.

I guess you could add "Conversation Starter" to the long list of things paper products provide us... I know I will. 

P.S. The dog is fine, but still a wimp.

Can Liners Made in IOWA

JP Gasway is always a proud supporter of Iowa made products. This is why we offer and stock Waverly Plastic’s line of Can Liners and have been doing so for nearly 20 years.

As with most products made and distributed in Iowa; the quality is exceptional! In the years that we have offered this line, we have had zero quality issues which is phenomenal. They offer a full line of high density and low density bags, both in Lay Flat and Rolls. They also offer bags for ice buckets, food service, and even promote their own line of biodegradable bags.

To make the task of keeping bags separate, they have a unique patented color coding system allowing users to match the size of the trash can to the size of the trash can liner. Along with each can liner case, comes a set of stickers specific to that size of liner. These stickers are to be applied to the actual trash can for ease of use when dealing with various sizes of can liners. It is a very simple process, yet very effective.

 JP Gasway offers all items from Waverly Plastics, while stocking over forty various can liners. We are pleased to stand behind this product, as it is a great quality product.

 If interested in one of the great Iowa made products offered by Waverly Plastics, contact us at JP Gasway and we will be happy to assist you.