Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: FedEx to Clip Kinko's Legacy - Its Name

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: FedEx to Clip Kinko's Legacy - Its Name

Article excerpt

Our office is on the ground floor of a 13-story building, but we still tell people that we're right next door to Kinko's and right across the street from Quiznos.

That would be fine, perhaps even helpful, except that we're not really next door to Kinko's. No one gets confused.

Kinko's was just Kinko's until FedEx bought the office services company in 2004 for $2.4 billion. It became FedEx Kinko's until last year, when FedEx began re-branding the chain FedEx Office. The sign next door still says FedEx Kinko's, and they still answer the phone that way, but not for long.

I was in there just this morning to buy a padded envelope and retrieve the firetruck birthday party invitations I made. (I'm handy that way, but keep me a great distance from the power tools). I noticed for the first time a sign hanging from the ceiling that informed me FedEx Kinko's was now FedEx Office.

I felt, to my surprise, a little hurt. Sort of like I had lost a friend.

The merger of those two companies five years ago created quite a stir. I am a longtime fan of both. Federal Express came along in 1971 and gave the delivery world a lesson in fast. The notion that a document could be delivered across the continent by the next day was outrageous, but the model was soon replicated by UPS, the U.S. Postal Service and others. I honestly can say that I have never - not once - had a problem with FedEx. Never have I experienced a missed pickup, a late arrival, a delivery to the wrong address and nothing has endured any damage. That's a pretty fine track record.

Kinko's popped up at the University of California Santa Barbara in 1970 when a 23-year-old USC business student borrowed $5,000 and set up shop in a 100-square-foot space. Photocopies were new, useful for college students and hard to come by. Paul Orfalea sold the copies, made on a leased machine, for two-and-one-half cents each. Kinko was his college nickname, derived from his tightly curled red hair.

Five years later, he had 24 stores in California and more than 75 there by 1979. …

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