From humble roots in 1951 with one retail store in downtown Victoria, Monk Office has grown to a multi-faceted business with 10 Vancouver Island retail locations in Victoria, Sidney, Duncan, Courtenay, Campbell River and Port Hardy. Employing over 140 Vancouver Island residents means jobs for local people who support the community. The company services a substantial commercial account base, provides technology product sales, support, service and repair and offers a full range of office interior solutions from office design and layout, office installation and modular construction combined with integrated technology.
An award-winning company, Monk Office has received 7 awards for environmental business practices and community leadership in the last 10 years, working to provide an inspiring and equitable workplace while becoming a resource and advocate for a better world. By supporting The Mustard Seed and The Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence; providing scholarships for post- secondary students entering Environmental Studies; or supplying a local school with supplies after a damaging fire, Monk Office helps to build more sustainable communities.
History – Ron McKenzie bought the business from Charlie Monk in 1963 and soon opened another location on the corner of Fort & Blanshard. The company continued to expand, though times were tough in the early 1980’s. “Interest rates jumped from 6% to over 20%, making it very difficult! The number of employees at Monk dropped from almost 100 to about 50,” said Ron.
Legacy – Twenty years after the purchase from Mr. Monk, James McKenzie acquired the business from his father and further expansion ensued up and down the island. Handing over the reins of the business operations to Mark Breslauer in 2014, James is positive about the changes occurring at the organization. “Our strategy may be changing, the way we do business may be changing, but one thing that isn’t changing is our values and our commitment to each other and the community,” emphasized James.
Today & Tomorrow – With Mark Breslauer at the helm of the organization for the last 2 years, Monk Office is evolving again with new branding, a state-of-the-art website launching this fall, an enhanced attitude of sustainability in the community, and the delivery of new and innovative ways to provide a unique and pleasurable experience for the customer.
While traditional office products continue to be central to Monk’s core business, they have broadened in order to outfit the entire office, whether more conventional, home-based or virtual. The focus of the company has shifted with dramatic growth in new and innovative offerings from technology services and comprehensive office set-up to environmental office solutions and business interior furnishings with an emphasis on comfort, healthy practices and productivity enhancing products.
Monk Office Timeline:
1951 – Opened first store in downtown Victoria
1963 – Ron McKenzie purchased the business
1978 – Opened flagship store at Fort & Blanshard, Victoria
1982 – James McKenzie took over ownership of the business
1988 – Ross Hill partnered with James and began serving as CFO
1995 – Expanded retail locations up island
2004 – James named Business Person of the Year
2007 – Monk Office named Business of the Year by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
2014 – James stepped down as President and CEO, remaining majority owner and Chair of the Monk Office Advisory Committee
2014 – Mark Breslauer appointed as President and CEO
2015 – New branding of the company, launched a Technology Services division
2016 – Celebrating 65 Years