Grant has grown up surrounded by the business of office stationery and equipment. He cut his teeth in the stationery company that eventually became Whitcoulls during the early 1970s, working for them into his position as Manager of the Northern Division by the time he left in 1989.
"Then the fun began!" he says, setting up a small office products and office furniture company that eventually became the largest in the country, acquiring the Whitcoulls Group along the way.
Moving to Whangarei and running Baigents OPD has been a lifestyle choice for Grant, offering him the opportunity to work with his wife Sue and long-time friend and business partner Eddie Darvill and his wife Irene.
Eddie has worked alongside Grant in previous stationery businesses over the past 37 years and the opportunity to leave the Sunshine Coast in Australia and work with Grant and Sue again was too good to turn down.
Eddie was part of the team that grew Blue Star Office Products as a nationwide company. He ran the Wellington branch with 100 staff before moving to a small stationery outlet in Queensland. He too says it was the lifestyle that attracted him to Whangarei and the opportunity to build on a business with such a long history and great reputation.
As part of the Baigents OPD team, Sue is very much hands-on. Sue has a background in financial accounting, but will assist in anything from accounts to customer service. During the Christmas holidays she, Grant, Eddie and Irene happily hold down the fort keeping the business running while the staff head off for summer holidays.
Sue has worked alongside Grant for a long time and believes the key to any successful business is building a team of great people who all have customer service as their central focus.
Covering every base is how Irene describes her role at Baigents OPD. Irene's experience has been in admin and customer service, but, as one of the business owners, you may come across Irene in the store when you walk in the door, or she could be out the back packing orders.
Irene and Eddie have Whitcoulls to thank for their meeting; they were both working there when they met and have worked together once their 2 children were old enough.
Rick started with the Baigentís team in 2007 as a Business Machines Sales Consultant. He brought with him experience as a store manager, area manager and sales manager, but also as a professional musician. In Australia he ran a successful act as an Elvis impersonator before moving to New Zealand.
Rick is an experienced sales consultant who provides industry expertise backed by Baigentís well-established reputation in Northland.
Mark is a well-known face on the Baigentís team, having joined the company in 2002, after working in stationery for a large retail chain. Markís expertise after more than a decade with Baigents translates to knowledgeable service for both his loyal customers, and new clients. He has stayed abreast of developments in the stationery world and enjoys encouraging your interest in the changing face of the tools we do business with.
Mark takes special pleasure in meeting new clients and in watching the business of his customers grow and develop.
Amanda is back! In 2008, Baigents lost Amanda when she took maternity leave, coming back later as a Mum to work two days a week. Now back with the team full-time, and drawing on previous experience in the customer service industry, Amanda adds mothering to her skill-set. She says, "Running around after a two year old means that I can now do several things at once."
Amanda is a local, born and raised in Maungakaramea, and has worked in Northland all her life. She has enjoyed returning to the Baigentís team where she loves interacting with local customers.
Greg is the man at Baigents OPD for ordering and processing inventory to ensure the latest in office products are available for delivery when the customer's want them.
Stationery was something of an accidental career for Greg, who started in the hospitality industry in Australia but once started he spent 12 years in various stationery supply outlets before moving to New Zealand.
When Maria joined the Baigentís team in February 2012, she brought with her ten years of experience in the stationery field where sheíd specialised in binding and custom products such as tabbing and ring binders. Since joining Baigents Maria has achieved 2nd place in the Business Acquisition category of the Office Product Depot national awards, as well as 3rd place for Sale Growth.
Maria enjoys connecting with a broad range of clients. She thrives on the challenge of solving the problems that sometimes occur before a job can be completed, and is appreciated for her willingness to go the extra mile for her clients.
John is our newest member on the Baigentís team. A bookkeeper by trade, John joined us from a lifetime in the furniture industry Ė he knows it inside out, from sales, manufacturing, managing a branch, and logistics. Furniture taught him that you need the right product to do the job, and it has to be at the right price. He says, "Get a man to perform a boyís job, and not a boy to perform a manís job Ė then you have the correct product."
Johnís likes to go the extra mile for his clients and his listening skills means that he gets high marks on customer service. Weekends finds him cheering his favourite sports teams on to the win.
Debbie Stephens brings to Baigents a background of selling fashion materials to clothing designers and manufacturers. She joined the team as our most recent Customer Service/Sales Assistant in July 2014. Itís not all frothy fashion though because Debbie has also trained in business computing and administration through NorthTec.
"I enjoy the challenges that come with providing excellent customer service, and Iím the most satisfied when Iíve completed all my tasks so free time isnít spent worrying about what isnít done. Then I can relax with my two daughters. I love Pilates and cooking, and holiday time often sees us walking and camping."
Emma originally began her career with Manawatu Office Products Depot, moving to Whangarei to continue with Baigents OPD in February 2015. Previous sales experience has enabled her to develop great working relationships with staff and customers.
"I enjoy growing new customer relationships, along with the challenge of finding precisely the right product for them, while delivering outstanding service to each one."
Emma is a mother of two daughters so most of her free time is spent with family. She gets a kick out of playing with her children, camping, getting out in the sun, and when she can, relaxing at home with a great book.
Jacintha has been with Baigents OPD since February 2016, having arrived with the very useful previous retail experience of an office products store. She also has management experience in a large sporting retail store and holds Certificates in Retail Management, Loss Prevention, Travel, and Tourism.
As the mother of three young boys, the majority of Jacinthaís spare time is taken up with family. "A lot of our time is spent outdoors pursuing various sports and activities. I have a real passion for renovating and homemaking which I like to indulge when I get a spare minute, along with a love of cooking, especially foreign cuisine."
Eddie has been our man in the store, the one with the clever hands who can assemble flat packs, chairs, desks, you name it, since November 2015. Those skills come with a smart range of other skills, including experience with Customer Service, Driving, Fork Hoist operation, and, bless our lucky socks, Furniture Manufacture and Assembly.
Eddie not only assembles, but installs all manner of Baigent OPD products and furniture, so if you order big enough, youíll get to meet him. We love him!
Kerry joined Baigents OPD in January 2015, and weíre very pleased to have him working our store room with Eddie. Customer Service, Driving, and Fork Hoist Operation are all part of Kerryís valued skill-set picked up over the years and now applied to our great benefit. You canít imagine the mess without top-notch store people running the show.
"I love the job," says Kerry, and if you get the opportunity to meet him, we think youíll love him!
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