Cascade School Supplies
1. What does Cascade School Supplies do and how long have you been in the Berkshires? How many employees work at Cascade? What percentage of your business would you say is currently done with Berkshire County schools or businesses?
Cascade School Supplies has been a leading distributor of quality art, office & school supplies for 89 years. Cascade has customers nationwide and supplies many of Berkshire County's public schools and businesses. We employ about 130 seasonal people during our heavy back to school shipping season. Cascade has 2 distribution centers, one in North Adams and the other in Clarksburg. Between the 2 buildings we have about 200,000 sq. feet of space and millions of dollars in inventory.
2. How has Covid-19 affected your business? What measures have you taken to make sure your workplace is safe for you, your workforce and customers?
When the nation's schools began to close in March of this year due to the pandemic, we suddenly found ourselves without a revenue stream. Our business was forced to close in response to the governor's order for 6 weeks, after which we could reopen as an essential business. Like many businesses, we lost sales that we'll never get back especially end of school year sales from April-June. Thankfully, when the new school fiscal year began in July, we saw orders begin to flow in again. In response to Covid-19 we made modifications to our workspace, moving stations 6 feet apart, sanitizing multiple times a day and providing hand sanitizer and face masks to all employees.
3. Has Covid-19 forced you to change your business model? If so, How? How long do you anticipate that your business will be impacted?
We learned quickly that the new remote learning model that schools were enacting presented many opportunities for us to add new items to help teachers and parents through these unchartered waters. We also began to source PPE products such as face masks, desk shields & hand sanitizer. We developed Ready-Set-Go backpack kits which included key school supply items and could be handed out to students at a moment's notice to facilitate at home learning. We suspect that our business will be impacted through at least June of 2021.
4. The SupportTheBerkshires.com initiative is centered around helping businesses in Berkshire County during these tough times. How can other Berkshire County businesses help Cascade School Supplies? What can you offer to other businesses that they might not be aware of?
Other Berkshire County businesses might not be aware that Cascade offers hundreds of office supply items, such as copy paper, Post-it notes, lamination and all types of folders. We also have items that you may not expect, for example ice melt, face masks & a wide selection of office furniture.
5. Any final thoughts or ideas that you would like to share with out readers?
I truly believe that if we support each other through this that we can collectively emerge as stronger, more creative businesses.