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When Do You Need a Paper Merchant?

Paper choices are vast, and can be confusing. You may think we stock lots of different brands and types of stock (paper). In reality, we stock very little (we order it as needed) and the paper we do have on hand is of the basic variety: Stock white offset opaque, satin coated and gloss coated in various thickness and sizes. These are known as our "house sheets."


If you frequently prefer the option of using something more upscale or unique, we suggest you enlist the help of a paper merchant. What is a paper merchant? It is a distributor of paper that buys large quantities of paper, board and stock from different mills around the world and stores them until required by customers. The stock is then broken down into smaller quantities to meet customer needs.

Paper merchants employ customer service individuals known in the business as "spec reps." A spec rep will be much more familiar with the options available that fit within your parameters, and will also have a better understanding of what is readily available, vs. something that may be a mill stock item.

A mill stock item needs to be ordered from the manufacturer (paper mill), rather than being stored on the paper merchant's floor. This sometimes also requires a minimum carton purchase. It's important to note that some sizes and basis weights within a certain line may be stocked, but other weights and sizes may not be - so it's important to clarify that with the rep.

Of course, if you prefer, we can meet with you and the spec rep to help guide you through the process. This allows you to get the stock that best fits your needs while allowing you to take advantage of our expertise in specifying and purchasing papers.

So, when do you require a paper merchant, and when should you work directly with your print sales rep?

It comes down to frequency. A customer who once in a while just wants a unique stock should look to their sales rep for assistance. On the other hand, if you frequently want to specify an exotic stock, or you need help researching paper issues, it may be more efficient to work directly with a paper merchant.

Either way, give us a call and we can either find the information you need or find a merchant who can.


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