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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BARKER OFFICE SUPPLY CO.

BARKER OFFICE SUPPLY CO.

BARKER OFFICE SUPPLY CO., for many years known as S. Barker & Sons Co., is the oldest office-supply house in Cleveland. On 7 June 1871, Samuel Barker opened a small printing business in a room on Union Ln., with 2 small presses, a small steam engine, a hand cutter, and stationery stock. Within a few years it moved into the Atwater Bldg. on the Old Viaduct. The firm mainly did job printing and handled a line of stationery supplies. In 1890 Raymond H. Barker joined his father in business, soliciting orders along the business district of Broadway Ave. and making next-day deliveries. In 1900 the firm moved to the corner of Superior and W. 6th St.

In 1911 S. Barker & Sons Co. was incorporated with Raymond H. as president. In 1922 the company moved into a new 4-story building at 729 Prospect Ave., which it still occupied in 1986. A grandson, Raymond M. Barker, joined the company in 1923. After the move to Prospect, the company became one of the leading office-supply firms in northern Ohio. Over the next 3 decades, it continued its printing and engraving services and retail sales of stationery. During this period its retail sales of office equipment increased, and by the 1950s it was offering metal and wood office furniture as well as files, desk accessories, and fireproof equipment. In 1960 Barker's added 25' of frontage, doubling its sales area for office furniture. Its printing service became a division of the company and later was sold. The president of the Barker Office Supply Co. in 1986 was John S. Barker, a great-grandson of Samuel Barker.

In April of 1989 the company was sold to Spectrum Office Supply of Rochester, NY. In Feb. 1994 it was sold again, this time to Staples, headquartered in Boston, MA, which renamed the company Staples Business Advantage. In 1995 it was located at 5399 Lancaster Drive in BROOKLYN HTS. John S. Barker retired from the company in 1989, but another of Samuel Barker's great-grandsons, Jim Barker, remained with the company as vice-president.