My Missoula: Office City

Missoula’s Office City, A Family Legacy

Why is shopping local important? Small businesses foster job opportunities for local residents, contribute to local economic sustainability, offer a more diverse inventory, provide unique and personalized customer experiences, and eventually empower other small businesses or startups to become building blocks to our community and economic history.

Joseph M. Dixon, who owned the Missoulian, founded The Office Supply Company in 1916 after he sold the newspaper to The Anaconda Copper Company.  Dixon ran for governor of Montana in 1920 and won.  That is when my great-grandfather, Claude Elder, purchased The Office Supply Company, which would become as we know it today, Missoula’s Office City.  He owned The Office Supply Company from 1920-1950, until is changed hands to his daughter, Catherine Elder Hughes and her husband Blaine Hughes.  My grandparents owned and operated The Office Supply Company from 1950 to 1980.

In 1980, my parents, JoAnn and Richard Hughes became successors to the business and successfully maintained its operation up until last year.  Currently, I am the 4th generation to operate the business.  It’s my hope that someday my daughters will continue the legacy of Missoula’s Office City to a 5th generation. Even with the meek odds of only 1% of small family businesses to make it to the 4th generation, I am confident our community’s support of local businesses will continue to make it possible for our family to carry-on Missoula’s Office City for generations to come.

Today, the retail business accounts for only 2% of sales. The bulk of our business is derived from delivering quality products to customers all over Montana, Idaho and Washington.  Our e-commerce site offers over 60,000 products for free next-day delivery.  By joining a buying group in 1995, automating the business and building a warehouse, we have been able to compete with the large corporations.

Missoula’s Office City is a local authorized dealer for Steelcase, the #1 brand of office furniture.  Our recent furniture projects include, but are not limited to, Stockman Bank, Classpass, ATG/Cognizant, Missoula Bone & Joint Surgery Center, Northern Rockies Orthopedic, Providence St Patrick Hospital, Flathead Valley Community College, and numerous local K-12 schools.  It is rewarding to be servicing other local organizations.

We can attribute the longevity of Missoula’s Office City to its loyal customer base.  We are forever grateful to our customers.  Our loyal customers understand the advantages of SHOPPING LOCAL.

Thank you, Missoula, for your support!  To learn more about our 104 year-old business, please visit our website at

-Brian Hughes

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