By Kate Elliott—
Editor’s note: Shafer Leadership Academy and the Muncie Downtown Development Partnership are partnering on a six-part series to highlight innovative leaders who are redefining typical during these extraordinary times.
Muncie, IN — Thomas Business Center has called downtown Muncie home since 1930. CF Thomas established the business in the Wysor Building before transitioning to the Johnson Building. From there, he moved the store above the HL Green Dollar Store before setting up shop in the Rose Court Building.
In 1954, CF built the present location at 333 N. Franklin St., which stands aside the north entrance to Muncie’s downtown. “Thomas Business Center, serving our community since 1930” is painted on its backside, overlooking the White River.
“Our business has always been located in downtown Muncie,” said Kent Thomas, president and CEO of the family business. “We opened our doors at our present location in January of 1955, and we continue to feel it is important to be located within the core of our city.”
Inside the unassuming yellow brick building, Thomas and his dedicated staff offer more than 3,000 discount office supplies, locally stocked, as well as more than 50,000 items available for next day delivery. Those items include supplies for cleaning, meeting rooms and breakrooms, from names like 3M, Acco, Tops, Fireking, and HON. Thomas and his team also sell and install office furniture.
“The distinction that our business has is our ability to be flexible, to be able to change to the needs of our customers and to be available for them at any time or place that we might be needed,” said Thomas. That agility resulted in the launch of a newly enhanced web store, which offers factory direct pricing for office products and furniture, with shipping across the United States. Local orders, regardless of order size, are delivered at no charge, and the center offers free shipping on orders of $49 or more outside the local delivery area.
“We have seen a softening of our office supply business, but an increase in our office furniture business,” Thomas said. “We have been able to maintain all of our employees at a full-time status, by providing free delivery to any place within our local delivery area, be it to their business or employee homes. We have felt it was and is important that we maintained full staffing at all times, so we can be available for our customers at a high service level and so our employees are gainfully employed.”
Thomas said his team is grateful for the many businesses — both public and commercial, taxable and non-taxable — as well as many individuals who order or walk into the store, which is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Masks are required to enter the building.
Speaking of masks, Thomas Business Center has expanded its Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) items, which can be viewed online at www.thomasbusinesscenter.com. Masks and other protective items have been difficult to procure, Thomas said, but the company is committed to securing these needs for the community now and in the future.
Keep up with Thomas Business Center on Facebook.
About Muncie Downtown Development Partnership
Muncie Downtown Development Partnership’s roots go as far back as 1983. Since then, its mission has been to create a downtown environment that results in sustainable economic and cultural growth. It does this, in part, by uniting the community through the common love of living, working, and playing DWNTWN.
About Shafer Leadership Academy
Shafer Leadership Academy is a Muncie nonprofit that provides inclusive leadership development so that people, organizations, and communities reach their full potential. Go to shaferleadership.com for an overview of its programs, scholarships and impact on the community. Connect with SLA online, social media or call the office at 765-748-0403.