Channel Strategy Session: Usherwood Office Technology Just Keeps Walkin’ the Walk

Of doughnuts, hockey pucks, managed IT services, and remarkable growth



Carl Schell


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Back when you were learning math in elementary school, you no doubt received a worksheet that asked something like, “If you have two doughnuts and your friend Biff gives you two more, how many do you now have?” The sheet, most likely, had poorly printed pictures of various types of the pastry right next to the question to keep you and the other children entertained.


Well, what if your company earned 23 million doughnuts in 2015 and then went on to hit its target of 48 million doughnuts in 2024?


Hard to believe it’s been eight years since Lou Usherwood and I collaborated on this dealer profile. What I appreciated about him during those conversations was his candor, his open book mentality, and his passion. More recently, when speaking with Lindsay Usherwood, I learned that this apple does not fall far from the tree and, not surprisingly, Usherwood Office Technology remains a very confident company.


There is no private equity money here, just the hustle and the hard work of roughly 160 people passing the puck effortlessly between each other with no boasting of success. Score the goal and skate back to the bench, act like you’ve done it a hundred times before. Usherwood would have every right if it wanted to behave otherwise, too: The doubling of its revenue occurred, in part, during a time when people had stopped eating doughnuts, then the subsequent doughnut shortages capped off by rising doughnut prices.



While managed IT services (MITS) comprises 20% of Usherwood’s revenue (10% in 2015, ironically another doubling), Lindsay noted that this is the biggest growth area for the dealer. “Throughout our history IT has been a focus, but it’s been the priority for many years now and that trend will not change anytime soon,” she said. “It drives all other lines of business—and everything begins with security, it’s not an upsell. We might lose some potential customers that don’t draw as hard a line as we do, and we are not the low-cost leader, but things tend to work out.”


Usherwood has expanded its operations (headquartered in Syracuse, NY) outside of Upstate New York, Western New York, and Vermont to include the entirety of New England. To boot, the company can claim that it has offices in or around some of the largest markets in the region (Boston, Hartford, and Providence), while Maine and New Hampshire are covered by an office in Manchester, NH. The most recent office (No. 18 for Usherwood) is in Plymouth, MA, in a refurbished factory building where rope and twine were made. It all just adds up to more good mojo.


The company has longstanding relationships with Canon and Xerox in office and production, but Lindsay cited the increasing sales of HP A3 hardware as a pleasant development that, along with MITS, has produced some mighty fine returns. Smaller portions of the business include security surveillance, video conferencing, digital signage, and Voice over IP (VoIP). Marketing in all forms is another crucial initiative for Usherwood over the ensuing 3-4 years, and Lindsay believes artificial intelligence (AI) will play a big role in that endeavor.


“Print still represents the majority of our revenue, but with our managed IT services and our progressive mindset, we are doing our best to blaze the best future path for our customers,” Lindsay said. “We have a way to go with AI, but once we get a grip on it our processes will change for the better, and forever. And at the end of each day thereafter, we will still just look at the stack of hockey pucks we’ve scored and get excited to do it again the next day.”


Say, hockey pucks do bear some resemblance to doughnuts, no?


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