Door-to-door sales were part of Fielding Whipple's daily routine starting in 1964.
The now 92-year-old sold typewriters and adding machines to nearly everyone running a business, school or local government service.
“I would go out everyday, knock on doors, present my card and tell (people) they needed a new typewriter and try to talk them in to it,” Whipple said. “I called on every merchant and lawyer. I sold a bunch of them.”
Central State Hospital routinely purchased at least one typewriter per week.
J.P. Stevens was another big customer buying $500 models. Whipple outwitted an IBM representative whose wife worked there as a secretary.
“I didn't think I had a chance of getting in there,” Whipple said. “One day I got a call from a J.P. Stevens purchasing agent saying I want four of your electric typewriters. They bought two or three more every month.”
Whipple Office Equipment Company started in the ground floor of the old Baldwin Hotel, then the former Elks Lodge and currently operates at 100 E. Hancock St. in the historic Masonic Lodge.
Baldwin, Hancock and Putnam counties relied on Whipple's business to keep them running efficiently.
What started as a Milledgeville franchise of a Dublin office supply company run by Whipple's brother Lucian continues adapting to new technology.
Years ago Whipple would sell and work on mimeograph copiers.
“They were messy things. You got ink all over you if you had to run a copy of something,” Whipple said.
Photocopying is a far cry from the old technology.
“Now everything is digital and moving so fast,” he said. “It makes your head spin.”
Miles Whipple, Lucian's son, was raised in the business. He subcontracts through Register Systems & Services to assist the Whipple Company today.
“We've seen the transition of business. Machines morphed into later technology,” Miles said.
Electronic typewriters and all-in-one printer/copier/fax machines were each a vital part of the change.
“As long as we need paper it still has to be printed, but it's amazing where technology has gone,” Miles said.
Adding machines costing $300 would perform basic calculations.
“Now for $2 you can get something more powerful,” Miles said.
A typewriter repair market still exists, which Whipple's outfit is more than happy to serve.
Customers bring old models from all over the state. Whipple does it right.
Expertise and service place the Whipple Company apart from larger office product stores.
“That's why people should buy from us,” Miles said.
Whipple Company sells Samsung and Sharp products such as cash registers, copiers and printers under their roof with the help of Miles' independent Register Systems & Services business.
“We sell (products) and service what we sell,” Miles said. “(Customers) don't have to call Sharp or Samsung. They call us. To me, that's worth whatever extra it might cost.”
Whipple Office Equipment Company can be reached at 478-452-3710, call Miles directly at 478-363-2608 or email email@example.com.