For many decades, office supplies have often been sold in local bookstores around the country and in other parts of the world. Today, there are a number of different stores such as Office Depot and Staples that specialize in providing business establishments with various office supplies and equipment. From paper products to office furniture and fixtures, these office supply shops have become the one-stop shop for many business entrepreneurs regardless of the size of the company.How it all beganMost of the popular office supply stores had their beginnings during the late 1980s. Staples and Office Depot were the first to be established in 1986. Two years after, Office Max opened its first store. Today, these three office supply retail stores are the top three most popular chains with branches all over the United States and even in other parts of the world.The primary reason for the establishment of a specialized office supply store came as a result of a need. The founders of Staples and Office Depot have begun to notice that, although bookstores do provide many of the office supplies that are needed by any business establishment, these are often sold in retail. As such, many business establishments, especially those who are just beginning to start their own small business or home office to settle with whatever number of supplies that are available. Another problem that they noticed is that budding business entrepreneurs would need to travel from one store to another in order to acquire everything that they would need for their business. For instance, if they would need some office furniture and fixture, they would need to go to a furniture store. For their computer and electronic equipment needs, they would need to head down to an appliance or computer store for this.The solutionIn line with this, the founders of Staples, Home Depot and Office Max came up with a solution. That is, to provide business entrepreneurs a one-stop shop where everything that they would need for their business would be available. Apart from providing all the supplies, equipment and furnishings that you may need, these office supply specialty stores sell items both in retail and in bulk.Evolution of ServicesToday, office supply stores now also offer a number of different services that you will need for your business. For example, apart from providing office supplies, equipment and furnishings, Staples now has a business center in every establishment. Here, customers can avail of services such as fax transmittals, creation of business materials, binding, laminating and the like. They also provide a service center for computers, printers and laptops. Office Depot now also offers ink refilling services to its customers by refilling emptied printer ink cartridges, allowing them to save money.Reaching out to their customersAnother plus for office supply stores is that they provide great discounts and offers for products like photo paper, printers, ink cartridges, etc. And they do it not just to budding business entrepreneurs. These offers and discounts are meant to attract teachers, students and any one who needs to avail of any of their products and services. Such is the case with Office Depot with their STAR Teacher Program. Through this program, a teacher is given huge discounts on selected services and products such as copying services and supplies that he or she would need.