Who or What Killed The Office Supply Store??

Other / Canada

It’s that time again, Back To School. As a child, this time of the year, I distinctly remember trips to Office Depot and maybe Zellers if there were some good deals advertised in their flyer. Now, on the rare occasion that I’ve step foot inside an office supply store, it’s virtually a ghost town. So what caused this shift?

The only thing that I go to Staples for are packs of a 12 padded envelopes that I can’t seem to find anywhere else in this quantity! Walmart only carries smaller packs, while Dollarama only has singles. And recently, I needed a specific calculator for a course that I was taking that I was able to find at Staples. Other than that, I don’t really have a need to head to these stores.

I don’t have any children, but I am assuming that Back-To-School shopping at Office Depot/Staples/and even Zellers (R.I.P.) has been replaced by Walmart & dollar stores. So what items do these office supply stores carry that I can’t get elsewhere?

Computers/laptops? Best Buy/Future Shop/or other stores like Apple or Canada Computers. Printers and other computer peripherals? See above. Office furniture & chairs? Maybe Staples/Office Depot, but most likely, it’s Ikea or other stores that specialise in furniture.

There are still a couple of office supply stores left in my city, but based on the lack of business, I don’t think they’ll be ’round for much longer. So who or what ultimately killed the office supply store?

30 responses to “Who or What Killed The Office Supply Store??”

  1. Eric says:

    We did our school supplies shopping at Staples last year and spent WAY more than we would have at Wal-Mart. The only reason we went to Staples was because Wal-Mart was out of stock for most of the things on the lists.

  2. Sera says:

    I think offices used to shop there but now most of them buy their supplies from catalogues or directly from manufacturers. I don’t think their main business was ever the average person going in for a few supplies for school or home, but companies that outfit their entire business from there. Just my guess.

  3. Julie says:

    Staples had great sales for back to school items this year, but they started earlier in August than usual. The things we needed were cheaper at Staples than they were are Walmart – $0.15 for 150 sheets of lined paper, $0.96 for 4 pack of highlighters, $3.99 for printer paper, etc. They also have items that I can’t find elsewhere throughout the year. Our Staples was crazy busy this year and last year too, so it is alive and kicking for use.

  4. saver says:

    Staples has excellent back-to-school prices, some better than Walmart. Also, on bulk paper. They do alot of printing as well and have informed when it comes to laptops and computers.

  5. Dianne says:

    I live in metro Vancouver and our Staples store is crazy busy, too! While Walmart has some great deals, Staples does, too….and the quality at Staples is often superior.

  6. Priscilla says:

    I live in Whitehorse and our Stapes had awesome school suppliers this year, much cheaper and better than Wal-Mart!

  7. bullwhip29 says:

    Many kids no longer use pens, paper, binders, calculators and so forth now that they have iPads, Ultrabooks, smart phones etc. The print newspaper industry is dying for the very same reasons. I remember the days when I used to walk to school with 50 lbs of text books strapped to my back . Boy, times have changed. It must be nice not to have to lug all that extra weight around (or have to walk those two blocks to school for that matter). IMHO, touch screens, spell check and the entire internet in general are giving rise to children who only know how to find the answers they need, but can’t really think for themselves.

  8. Kary says:

    i personally don’t shop there because of the price and atmosphere of the store. price because it’s more expensive than walmart. and atmosphere because it just seems so… boring there if it makes any sense. like there’s rarely any other shoppers and the layout of things just make it seem way too serious and boring.

  9. Rob K says:

    i did my last school shopping at Staples a few years ago. Their pencils are or at lest were of extremely high quality (Staples Graphite Pencils), you could throw them, bend them and the lead never broke, my teacher even tried to do a trick where a sheet of paper will break a pencil and it he couldn’t do it with it.

    That said i don’t shop at stales often, about 3 years ago i purchased a cordless phone there and last year i got a shredder. The office depot that was here closed over 10 years ago

  10. Party Girl says:

    I doubt that they all will go bust, I own a business and buy tons of stuff at the local Staples. Plus they gouge you less than WalMart on certain items, like computer cords. WalMart will be like $40, Staples will be $12. Though Princess Auto will be like $4.00 so….

  11. matrix82 says:

    Never knew staples was being killed. There is still a staples in my area, and it is thriving. I’d rather staples over walmart any day, shorter lines, and they usually have the items in stock.

  12. annie says:

    Yeah I agree with Matrix, are they really dying? Staples here in Guelph is ALWAYS busy! Their prices are very competitive as far as I can tell. Not seen the dying you guys have noticed.

  13. sara says:

    Growing up we always did our shopping at Canadian Tire as they had the best deals. Whenever I need supplies now I go to Staples since I know they have the best selection and frankly its not worth the hassles and lineups at Walmart.

  14. Julie says:

    There are a few things that set Staples apart from Walmart and one is customer service and very knowledgeable staff. I have never gone in without having exceptional service.If you shop their sales they are comparable or cheaper. I made a large purchase there recently and they insisted on bringing it too my vehicle. Another plus is they take airmiles. Last time i shopped at Walmart, I dealt with very rude customers in line, long line ups, and untrained staff for specific products, basically your on your own if you have questions.As a business owner I am equally impressed with the services Staples has given me for my office needs whether through in store or online.I guess to each or own or people need to set their expectations of customer service a bit higher.

  15. onshopper says:

    Hubby shops for our business supplies on the Staples website and we often use a web-only coupon. Delivery, to our front door, is the next day.

  16. Minou says:

    I think free delivery is something that helps convince people to buy… a lot of other suppliers of office equipment/furniture charge for delivery.

    I wouldn’t mind buying electronic products there, as I hate the hard sell at places like Future Shop.

    They do have some really good sales. I buy Norton products there when they go on for a 3-user version for $29.99 in August. I also go for nice pens and inexpensive school supplies. I’m a teacher, so I often time my purchases for teacher discount days.

    Sometimes printer ink goes on sale.

    I also do photocopying there when I need something copied for personal use.

    For elementary teachers, it’s nice to be able to pick up borders/basic classroom materials at Staples rather than having to trek across town to a teacher supply store.

    I like that they collect school supplies for kids in need, as well.

  17. Joanne says:

    I prefer Staples to Walmart, for school supplies and general office supplies, computers and software. They have good customer services and aren’t as busy as Walmart. They also have a great discount table with 50% off the last price. (Sometimes they even bump it up to 75% off last price.) My kids and I like rummaging through the items on the table year round.

  18. Obliviscor says:

    Staples has a few qualities that Walmart and zellers doesn’t. Things such as staff to help you and answer your questions, lots of items in stock and the place never looks like a dump like Walmart does after being ransacked. Their prices have been more competitive to Walmart and their selection for furniture is way above any other retailer (chair selection is huge).

    Their selection for laptops have grown over the past few years and they are now in the tablet and apple market too. I definitely don’t think these are signs of their business going under.

    Shopping at Walmart during a busy time like this is a nightmare and I for one prefer to shop at staples. Just my opinion.

  19. sampler says:

    Their prices usually suck!…and why go out of our way to go to those stores when we can do one stop shop at walmart etc.? ..which usually has better prices

  20. Maya says:

    Staples beats many other stores in so many ways. Their products are better quality and they have wonderful sales. They offer free delivery on online purchases above $50, or free delivery for pick up in the store on items less than $50. Moreover, if you decide to shop in person, when you walk into the actual store, you find helpful and knowledgeable staff members who are always eager to help you. I have never had a bad experience there and I have been shopping there for years. It is obvious that they treat their employees well because they are always positive and very happy to do their job… Last time I ordered a couple of 2-drawer filing cabinets from them, their delivery person brought the very heavy filing cabinets and insisted on carrying them for me to my third floor office and then refused to take a tip for his troubles despite my insistence. That’s service I appreciate!

  21. Theresa says:

    I remember Grand and Toy was the office supply go to for a long time. They closed a lot of their suburban stores. I think Staples does alright though.

  22. kerry says:

    We just got a new Staples here in Vancouver a year ago,and they are always busy.I buy some computer supplies there…

  23. Amy says:

    I’m pretty sure Staples is very well alive and kicking.

    Walmart may be taking some of the market share, sure, but Staples has variety that WM simply could not offer without catering exclusively to the business professional, as Staples does.

    Like others have mentioned, Staples also usually has great customer service (or knows what customer service is, period – which WM quite frankly does not). Their prices are also competitive – you just have to keep an eye out for their sales, which often feature amazing deals.

  24. DAR says:

    Staples is always very busy here late August. They will also match prices advertized in their competitors’ flyers.

  25. Lori says:

    Be careful at the Dollar Store – I’ve bought items there then kicked myself when I found them cheaper, and better quality, at Staples. Walmart items seem to go fast and are out stock – wasted trip. Staples is a safe bet for one stop shopping at great prices, and they price match. Staples also emails coupons for more expensive purchases. I hope we never lose our Staples !!!!

  26. Brock says:

    Our family owned a stationary store in downtown Kitchener, Ontario for over 30 years which also delivered office supplies weekly to local businesses. I was only a kid, but I vividly remember our sidewalk sales, my Grandmother working the cash register in the store and my Dad taking me on his sales calls, watching as he collected orders for a number of accounts.

    The evolution of big box stores like Office Depot & Staples and the advent of large local shpping malls caused the downtown core to decay in the 80’s which effectively killed our business and many others. Distributers couldn’t provide products to us as cheaply as they could to a chain store who placed large orders directly from the manufacturer. Customers preferred to frequent one-stop shops who were able to sell items at less than our cost. Our tiny ads in the local newspaper were no competition for the weekly colourful inserts. As such, most of the pedestrian traffic dried up and went elsewhere. We were fortunate enough to see the writing on the wall and sold our storefront. Those early experiences made me ever mindful to support small businesses in every aspect of my life.

  27. Deb says:

    I’m certainly not in a city where these office stores are dying. Whether it be a Staples or a Grand and Toy, these stores are still thriving!

  28. Olivercat says:

    The staples in my area is always busy. I shop online and get free delivery over $50. As I live 35 minutes ‘out of town’ , the free delivery saves me time and money! The will also price match Best Buy, Future Shop and most stores….I do not think the office supply stores are dying in my area—–but Office Depot is–bad service and inconsistent delivery problems have definitely made me rethink purchases from them!

  29. hiba says:

    totally agree with u Brock, definitely support ure local shops!!

  30. Mrs Doubt flyer says:

    It wasn’t me…


  • RSS Hot Canada Deals

  • Recent Comments

  • Did You Know?

    Smart Canucks is Canada's first Canadian shopping deals blog and has been operating since 2005!

  • Join Mailing List




    Find Deals by Brand!