The 100-Year History of Perry Office Plus

On January 10, 1920, American Printing opened its doors with $6,000 in new printing equipment inside a rented space at the Wilcox Building on West Avenue A. They soon added office supplies, textbooks, and even some furniture to their offering.

About 1936, Miller and Baggett became competitors when Miller left American Printing to open his own printing firm, Miller Printing Company. Eventually, Miller’s business moved to 120 South 1st Street at Ave B.

American Printing continued to prosper over the next two decades, and by the early 1950s, it employed about 15 people, had 5,000 square feet of floors pace, and was one of the largest printing firms in Central Texas. The company handled “job printing”, engraving, lithographing, and embossing, and carried a complete line of printing and office supplies, as well typewriters and adding machines.

Miller Printing did not fare as well. R.E. Miller died in 1951 at the age of 59. His family attempted to run the business after his death, and later changed hands, but by the early 1960s, the business was up for sale.

An ad in the Dallas newspaper for the small printing company caught the eye of J.W. Perry. He had spent 14 years working in printing and reproduction at the Atlantic Refining Company in Dallas. At that time, he saw no path upward in the company, so he and his wife Ruth were looking to purchase a printing company of their own. In 1962, as the country was just starting to recover from a recession, the Perrys relocated to Temple and purchased Miller Printing.

With just one employee – Harrison Legan, no print jobs in-house, a few office supplies up front, and a healthy dose of blind faith, the Perrys got busy reviving the business. Each day, J.W. would wear a shirt and tie to call on customers, and then return to the shop, don an apron, and start making deliveries. Their hard work paid off, and they slowly added customers, and even a few employees.

Nearby at American Printing, A.D. Baggett was approaching retirement. J.W. and Ruth made yet another leap of faith, closed Miller Printing, and purchased Baggett’s company in 1966. Ever determined to sell more office products and furniture, they began operating the business as American Printing & Office Products. In 1976, the company opened a second store in nearby Belton, which is still in operation today.

J.W. believed customers were still not able to see past the printing side of the business to view them as a source for office products.

In 1983, he divided the business into two different corporations. The printing business operated as American Printing and moved into a new facility, while the office supply and furniture business became Perry Office Products. An additional supply store was opened in neighboring Killeen.

The time came a few years later to let go of the printing business and focus solely on office products and furniture, so American Printing was sold to long-time employee, Jody Donaldson in 1988.

Harry & Debbie Macey approached the Perrys in the early 1990s about purchasing their company, as part of a move to return to their hometown. In 1994, the sale was final and J.W. said, “We couldn’t have picked a better couple to have sold our business to.”

J.W. Perry went on to serve three terms as Mayor of the City of Temple and participate in many other community groups and causes.

Shortly after taking over, the Maceys sought to modernize the company throughout the remainder of the decade, including purchasing the company’s first computer system and updating the name to Perry Office Plus.

Just before the turn of the century, Perry Office Plus acquired Curry Office Supply in Waco and Myron’s Office World in Killeen, further solidifying its place in these markets.

In 2005, just ten years into the Maceys’ tenure, the company had quadrupled in size and was spread out across multiple facilities in downtown Temple. To better manage the business and improve communication, the Maceys purchased and renovated the former Coca-Cola bottling plant in Temple, and consolidated the company headquarters, warehouses, and customer support call center into a single facility.

While commercial sales and delivery in all markets increased, retail sales declined. After 85 years of a retail presence in downtown Temple, that storefront was closed. In 2006, the Waco retail location transitioned to a furniture showroom, and a few years later, the Killeen retail store closed as more customers chose delivery over in-store purchases.

The 2018 acquisition of local furniture dealer CFS, Inc. in Temple, helped the furniture business soar through the next year, and a heavy emphasis was placed on janitorial supplies and promotional products as new avenues of business as office products started a slow decline.

The year 2019 – the company’s 100th year in business – was its best ever. Perry Office Plus celebrated the close of that year on January 10, 2020 with a special “Founders Day” anniversary event in downtown Temple, just blocks away from their original location. More than 200 customers, community partners, friends, family, and staff were in attendance, as local and state dignitaries presented proclamations, and the Chamber of Commerce held a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Perry Office Plus began with the entrepreneurial spirit of its founders, endured with determination and hard work by J.W. and Ruth Perry, and was expanded and modernized by the Maceys. All the while, it has been sustained by the community’s commitment to supporting local business, and its staff’s dedication to excellent service.

As a local, independent business for 100 years, Perry Office Plus is proud to be part of the story of Central Texas and beyond for the past century, and for years to come.