If East Texas Copy Systems has shown anything in the last three-quarters of a century, it’s a commitment to staying ahead of the industry curve.
The story goes that Joe T. McMillan walked barefoot from Hugo, Okla. to Tyler for a job repairing typewriters. He opened East Texas Typewriter Exchange on Nov. 15, 1945 at 210 South College Street, where he exchanged, cleaned and repaired Underwood Company typewriters. Olivetti Corporation eventually purchased Underwood, and East Texas Typewriter Exchange was one of the most productive sales outlets for Olivetti in the United States. By 1975, it was the fifth largest in the nation.
McMillan sold the business to Bob Prislovsky and Charles Idom on Nov. 15, 1972, who changed the name to East Texas Typewriters. Eight years later, East Texas Typewriters moved to 320 East Front St. Throughout their tenure, both Bob and Charles helped guide the company’s transition from the mechanical to the electronic age. They welcomed to the showroom the first electronic calculator, soon followed by the first electronic typewriter.
“Models began changing every 15 months instead of every 10 years, and then as quickly as every nine months,” according to an article in Historic Smith County. “East Texas Typewriters kept pace, introducing Tyler to on-site microfilm recording and redevelopment, facsimile machines and plain-paper copiers made by Canon.”
Present-day owners Greg Walker, former owner at Advantage Copy Systems, and Rick Fedell , Sales Manager at Ikon Office Solutions in Tyler, purchased the small company on Jan. 19, 1999. The two immediately changed the name to East Texas Copy Systems, and began turning the company into the industry leader it’s become today. They hired more sales and service personnel: Payroll grew from seven to 40+ and facilities at ETCS grew from 2,500 to 12,500 sq. ft.
ETCS now has three locations spread out over the greater East Texas area, with facilities in Tyler, Longview and lufkin. ETCS is the fastest growing – and routinely one of the top-rated – Canon dealers in Texas.
Amid this rapid growth, service has always been a word that’s carried a lot of weight with Rick and Greg.
“Our future is based on our integrity with our customers, fellow employees and suppliers,” ETCS President Greg Walker said. “Every employee is expected to amaze our customers at all times through attitude and service.”
To once again stay ahead of the “technology” curve, in 2009 ETCS started the Professional Services Group, a division of the company that manages – and even builds – a customer’s entire network. The PSG delivers network support to local businesses - not just break/fix services, but proactive I.T. support that secures an office's network from the bottom up. These solutions include Managed I.T. Services, Managed Print Services, Document Management and Electronic Medical Records.
And while our services constantly evolve to the changing technologies ahead, our service remains our top priority. Our products and solutions are always progressing. As for our service, it’s as old fashioned and genuine as it was the day Joe T. McMillan made his way to South College St.