Office Stop selling its inventory to Staples The Staples chain will assume the leases of the Office Stop stores in Towson, Eastpoint.

June 14, 1991|By Kevin Thomas | Kevin Thomas,Evening Sun Staff

Staples, the second largest office supply warehouse in the nation, is purchasing the inventories of three Baltimore area Office Stop stores and plans to take over two of those locations as early as next week.

The deal reached with San Antonio-based Office Stop, which filed for Chapter 7 under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code last month, would have Staples assume the leases for Office Stop stores in Eastpoint and Towson.

Those stores, which are still operating, will be converted to Staples stores and will reopen during the last week of July, said James Forbush, Staples vice president for marketing.

Staples, based in Newton, Mass., is purchasing the inventory of a third Office Stop on Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie but has declined to take over the location.

Staples officials believe it is too close to the location of a competitor -- Office Depot Inc.

Staples expects to complete the deal with Office Stop by June 21, Forbush said. A purchase price has not been set.

The demise of Office Stop, which had four locations in states other than Maryland, narrows the field of office supply warehouses.

The industry giants include Staples, with approximately 100 locations nationwide, and the Boca Raton, Fla.-based Office Depot, with about 200 locations.

While Office Depot has locations in the Baltimore, Glen Burnie and Annapolis, Staples appears determined to have more.

The company's first Baltimore store opened in April on Reisterstown Road.

In addition to the two stores being purchased from Office Stop, the company plans to open another store in Baltimore later this year and a store in Catonsville in early 1992.

"It's Staples' business strategy to become the market share leader in every market we enter," said Thomas G. Stemberg, Staples chairman and CEO.

Employees at the three Office Stop locations will be allowed to interview for jobs at the two new stores, Forbush said.

There are approximately 30 employees at the three area Office Stop stores.

Forbush said the two new Staples stores will employ approximately 80 people.

Once the purchase is complete, Forbush said Staples will refurbish the two Office Stop stores, which are on Eastern Avenue near the Eastpoint Shopping Center and Goucher Avenue in Towson.

Most of the Office Stop inventory will be sold at reduced prices at Staples stores, Forbush said.

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