Out with the Old, in with the New

Article excerpt

It's almost like coming home for Ed Copelin. The coffee shop "that I never got to spend much time in" in the First National Center is now home to Copelin's Office Center.

Before that, for about six years, the downtown Oklahoma City site had been the home of Mike Bryan's Office Supply, which took over from Manley's Office Supply, a staple of that location for 15 years.

"When I got out of college, I worked for Cities Service on the ninth floor of this building, so it's just like I've come home," Copelin said. "This was the coffee shop. Of course, being new to the company, I never got to spend a lot of time in the coffee shop." Now, he can spend as much time as he wants in the store, an expansion of Copelin's Office Center, 425 W. Main in Norman. This marks the second time in 14 years that Copelin has expanded out of his Norman business. Several years ago, he established a second store in Purcell, just south of Norman. "That was a pretty good location, being a county seat town" for McClain County," Copelin said. After two years of operation, Copelin sold the store to concentrate on his Norman operation. "That store is still going strong, though," he said. Copelin decided to expand into downtown Oklahoma City after Mike Bryan Office Supply was purchased by Boise Cascade and switched the Oklahoma City operations from retail to wholesale. "This has been a good location for years. It's convenient and people know it's here to serve their needs," Copelin said. "I believe this is an really good market." Copelin's Office Center opened Thursday, the day that Mike Bryan Office Supply had planned to go out of business. "Several people have come in today, thinking this place was in the process of shutting down instead of opening," Copelin said. The new store will carry a complete line of office supplies and furniture, drawing on the expertise of the Norman staff to help customers with space planning and arrangements. "We have limited space here, so our display (of office furniture) will be limited," Copelin said. "But we can get what the customer wants." Another feature Copelin has imported from Norman is Copelin's Teaching Tools, a sort of store within a store. That project started a few years ago when wife Lin resigned as a Norman Public School teacher and devoted her time to the office supply business. What started in a corner of the store with just a few teachers' supplies has now grown into a complete line of "articles for creative teachers and concerned parents," Copelin said. "That's the slogan that we use in this operation." The Oklahoma City teaching center features mostly educational and childhood development toys, Lin said. "We feel there are a lot of parents and grandparents who would like to buy things like this for the children, but don't have time to shop in other stores," she said. "This will be a good market for them." Although the toys are designed for children, "most of the adults who come in here like them as much as kids do," Lin said. Examples are a talking globe that has an interactive geography educational program. …