Mackans takes pride in its family-owned business

Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mackans Office Supply and Printing, the winner of the Downtown Franklin Divas and Dudes scarecrow contest and one of the oldest family-owned businesses in Franklin, prides itself on the close-knit family and the loyalty they have for the downtown area.

“We feel we’re successful because we’ve been here 40-plus years and because of the family-owned atmosphere we have,” said Susan M. Jones, who is one of the owners and also one of the daughters of the founder of Mackans.

Mary Christie Morris, left, and Susan M. Jones, co-owners of Mackans Office Supply and Printing, take pride in the close-knit family business they run in downtown Franklin. -- Rebecca Chappell | Tidewater News

Mary Christie Morris, left, and Susan M. Jones, co-owners of Mackans Office Supply and Printing, take pride in the close-knit family business they run in downtown Franklin. — Rebecca Chappell | Tidewater News

“Our family, our faith and our loyalty to the downtown area have helped with our success,” said sister Mary Christie Morris, the other owner.

Their father, the late Robert K. Mackan, was a head accountant at the Union Camp Corporation prior to taking over Franklin Office Supply in 1974.

“We didn’t change the name to Mackans until after the flood. Dad was thinking about how he only had girls and he wanted to keep the family name alive,” Jones said.

Although Mackan had much success at Union Camp, he eventually grew tired of traveling.

“You see this 8-1/2 by 11 piece of paper?” Jones asked. “Well, Dad recognized the potential of this size of paper and did presentations on it around the U.S. to the different Union Camps. He showed them the cost and the profit of using this size of paper. He eventually won them over and they adopted this size of paper.”

Margaret Mackan, wife of Robert Mackan, was a teacher for 48 years, but both of their daughters said the family business wouldn’t have made it without her.

“Mom was by Dad’s side every step of the way. She helped with everything,” Morris said.

Working in the store and helping out with whatever needed to be helped with was part of growing up for the Mackan sisters.

“Even as a kid I was learning how to help Dad with the books and then I worked here all of my teenage years,” Morris continued. “When I graduated from Christopher Newport University in 1990, I came straight back here to work.”

Jones added, “Being here and working was just something I always did while growing up. And when I graduated from Old Dominion University in 1991, I spent a year working elsewhere. I really didn’t think I wanted to come back, but after that year, I came back home to regroup. I starting thinking about the elective class I had taken in college on printing and remembered how much I enjoyed it. From then on, I’ve been here.”

After Jones returned to the store, the Mackans renovated and decided that instead of sending printing out, they would have it in-house and Jones would be able to take care of it.

“Even after only a couple of years since the class I took in college on printing, the technology had changed and I had to learn how to work all the new products,” Jones said.

Morris and Jones both said that being close and working in the family business is something they passed down to their own children.

“The kids have always helped with inventory, some have worked inside and some have done deliveries for us over the summer,” Morris said.

“We made it part of our children’s lives growing up, just like it was for us,” Jones added.

Both sisters wanted their children to know the difference between being an entrepreneur and working for someone else, though.

“Our children worked for us and we made them work for other people, too, so they could understand the advantages and disadvantages of it,” Morris said.

“Being a huge part of our kids’ lives is important to us,” Jones continued. “If we didn’t run our own business, then we would have never been able to take off all those times we needed to, be involved in PTA, be room moms and everything else we did and we wanted our kids to understand that before they went off to college.”

“We all really do enjoy spending time together, though,” Morris added.

Although Mackans will still be doing a lot of printing and selling of ink cartridges, they are bringing back office-related gift items, something they sold before the flood. They will also be selling personalized items, invitations and colorful stationery.

“We already have some colorful stationery brands in, but we are hoping to get Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer,” Morris said.

“We do in-house personalization on items like pens, tumblers, stationery and phone cases. While the customers shop around, they can wait for their items to be personalized,” Jones added.

Mackans also has an app that customers can download and it will come in handy to those who buy ink cartridges.

The app is called “Perka,” and is free and available at app stores. “Perka” gives you coupons depending on your location. As of right now, Mackans is the only store in Franklin that participates. If you let the workers at Mackans know you have this app while buying ink cartridges, than it will be used as an automatic punch card and eventually you will earn free cartridges.

The sisters hope their new items will be a hit to customers and they invite you to come down, see some of the new items, meet them if you haven’t already and shop at their store.

Mackans is located at 108 N. Main St., Franklin, Call 562-2959 for more information, or visit the Facebook page.