Phil Saunders has seen a lot of changes in 38 years working in the stationery industry. None has had as much impact that the digital age has had.
“We are all less reliant on paper product.” says Phil, adding as an example “The document and image storage market has dramatically shrunk from the need to use boxes to CDs, USB sticks and now the popular use of remote cloud based technology.”
Phil explains that “just 5 years ago a device having 128 megabytes (MBs) was considered to have a large storage capacity but soon this became 2GB and now you can store information on a small memory stick that has a 64 GB capacity. Just 5 years ago you couldn’t even buy a computer with that memory capacity.”
His personal view is that the computer market has plateaued. This has not been without having an impact on his own business that is similar to many others competing with the big end of town.
Despite this Phil sees that competing on price is only marginal with ASAP Stationery having that unique quality small business can offer, namely personal service.
Phil and his staff offer this in common with other Wynnum Central traders, many who have been established over a long period. Being a small local business helps Phil to develop a good rapport with his customers and give that personal advice on products.
Phil adds “We stock a wider range of goods in-house and can access product within a few days whereas the larger stores carry a more narrow range of current product.”
He has seen trends come and go such as scrapbooking where there was a sudden surge in interest a few years ago.
ASAP Stationery itself has been part of the Edith Street landscape for 35 years. Phil took over nine years ago, having been attracted to the Wynnum area.
“It reminds me of growing up in Cairns and how that city was 30 years ago.” Phil remarks. “Wynnum has that village community feel which is its strength.”
Phil though doesn’t shirk at the need for Wynnum to ‘grow up’ and sees the need for more residential development that will retain existing stores and attract new ones. This will, as Phil says, ‘put more feet on the ground’ providing more trade to Wynnum Central.
He himself has been active in the community as President of Wynnum & Districts Chamber of Commerce for 3 years and more recently was President of the Port of Brisbane Rotary Club. Phil sees community involvement as being important, with his philosophy of “If you want to be part of the community you need to be part of the community, no matter how you do it.”
Phil lives with his family in the Wynnum area and loves its closeness to the City and Bay enjoying the foreshore views of the yachts and boats n afternoon.
In his own words “I couldn’t live anywhere else in Brisbane.”
*for all you spelling nuts out there – stationery with an ‘e’ of course refers to office products, with an ‘a’ to an object that is not moving. We could have gone with either, really!