Copying is encouraged here

EVERETT – This is a different kind of David and Goliath story. In this one, instead of slaying the giant, the little guy goes to work for him, and gets rewarded.

Woodburn Co. – a family-owned office equipment company operating out of a downtown Everett storefront – is the primary supplier of photocopier services for Nordstrom Inc. across 27 states.

The company directly services all Nordstrom’s Puget Sound locations, while coordinating with manufacturer Ricoh Inc. to provide service at stores outside the region.

“If they have a store in San Antonio, we find a dealer like us in San Antonio to service that store,” owner Frank Fukui said.

It was a big stretch for a little company, co-owner Penny Fukui said. “They took a chance with us. We only have 10 employees.”

But it seems to be working. The company – which only landed the service contract in April – was named one of Nordstrom’s suppliers of the year in 2005.

It was a proud honor, Penny Fukui said. The Nordstrom hallmark is outstanding service to customers, she said. “They expect the same customer service from their vendors.”

The Fukuis have owned and operated the business since 1989, when they bought it from founder Jack Woodburn. It’s a small family business, with children and sons-in-law pitching in.

Their bread and butter, Frank Fukui said, is their base of local accounts, which includes Cascade Bank, the city of Everett, Snohomish County PUD and Snohomish County government.

But in 2004, they bid on a contract to provide copier service for the city of Seattle. “Lo and behold, we won,” he said.

With that experience under their belt – and assistance from the state’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center, which helps small businesses bid on government contracts – the Fukuis went after the Nordstrom contract.

They partnered with a Bellevue company, Print Inc., which would provide the copiers while Woodburn serviced them.

“It was a seven-month process,” Penny Fukui said. They filled out a 2-inch-thick request for information, and responded with a proposal that was equally thick. Then, after qualifying, they entered an online “reverse auction” in which Nordstrom solicited bids from competing suppliers – most of them major manufacturers.

Winning the contract meant a big push for the whole company, they said – family, current employees and even a retired worker who came back to help.

“We wouldn’t have won the award without our staff and our crew,” Penny Fukui said.

Their goal for 2005? “Just keeping our focus,” Frank Fukui said. “Our county is growing pretty well, and we need to share in that growth.”

Reporter Bryan Corliss: 425-339-3454 or

Woodburn Co.

Who: Owners Frank and Penny Fukui

What: Supplies and services copiers and other office equipment. Clients include Nordstrom Inc., the cities of Everett and Seattle, Cascade Bank and Snohomish County PUD.

Where: 2815 Rockefeller Ave., Everett.

Employees: 10, including family members.

Revenue: Close to $2 million in 2005.

Notable: Nordstrom Supplier of the Year in 2005.

Quotable: Ricoh is a Japanese company, but only a handful of its dealers are minorities. When we show up at meetings, everybody thinks were from corporate, Penny Fukui said.


Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Members of Gravitics' team and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen stand in front of a mockup of a space module interior on Thursday, August 17, 2023 at Gravitics' Marysville facility. Left to right: Mark Tiner, government affairs representative; Jiral Shah, business development; U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen; Mike DeRosa, marketing; Scott Macklin, lead engineer. (Gravitics.)
Marysville startup prepares for space — the financial frontier

Gravitics is building space station module prototypes to one day house space travelers and researchers.

Orca Mobility designer Mike Lowell, left, and CEO Bill Messing at their office on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 in Granite Falls, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could a Granite Falls startup’s three-wheeler revolutionize delivery?

Orca Mobility’s battery-powered, three-wheel truck is built on a motorcycle frame. Now, they aim to make it self-driving.

Catherine Robinweiler leads the class during a lab session at Edmonds College on April 29, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Grant aids apprenticeship program in Mukilteo and elsewhere

A $5.6 million U.S. Department of Labor grant will boost apprenticeships for special education teachers and nurses.

Peoples Bank is placing piggy banks with $30 around Washington starting Aug. 1.
(Peoples Bank)
Peoples Bank grant program seeks proposals from nonprofits

Peoples Bank offers up to $35,000 in Impact Grants aimed at helping communities. Applications due Sept. 15.

Workers build the first all-electric commuter plane, the Eviation Alice, at Eviation's plant on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in Arlington, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Arlington’s Eviation selects Seattle firm to configure production plane

TLG Aerospace chosen to configure Eviation Aircraft’s all-electric commuter plane for mass production.

Jim Simpson leans on Blue Ray III, one of his designs, in his shop on Friday, August 25, 2023, in Clinton, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Whidbey Island master mechanic building dream car from “Speed Racer”

Jim Simpson, 68, of Clinton, is using his knowledge of sports cars to assemble his own Mach Five.

Inside the new Boeing 737 simulator at Simulation Flight in Mukilteo, Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
New Boeing 737 simulator takes ‘flight’ in Mukilteo

Pilots can test their flying skills or up their game at Simulation Flight in Mukilteo.

An Amazon worker transfers and organizes items at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amazon cuts ribbon on colossal $355M fulfillment center in Arlington

At 2.8 million square feet, the facility is the largest of its kind in Washington. It can hold 40 million “units” of inventory.

A computer rendering of the North Creek Commerce Center industrial park in development at 18712 Bothell-Everett Highway. (Kidder Mathews)
Developer breaks ground on new Bothell industrial park

The North Creek Commerce Center on Bothell Everett Highway will provide warehouse and office space in three buildings.

Dan Bates / The Herald
Funko president, Brian Mariotti is excited about the growth that has led his company to need a 62,000 square foot facility in Lynnwood.
Photo Taken: 102312
Former Funko CEO resigns from the Everett company

Brian Mariotti resigned Sept. 1, six weeks after announcing he was taking a six-month sabbatical from the company.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Paper or plastic? Snohomish County may require businesses to take cash

County Council member Nate Nehring proposed an ordinance to ban cashless sales under $200. He hopes cities will follow suit.

A crowd begins to form before a large reception for the opening of Fisherman Jack’s at the Port of Everett on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Seafood with a view: Fisherman Jack’s opens at Port of Everett

“The port is booming!” The new restaurant is the first to open on “restaurant row” at the port’s Waterfront Place.