A look back at the history of EO Johnson Company

The legacy of EO Johnson Business Technologies spans more than 60 years, and includes immense growth from a small company with a handful of employees to an organization that has expanded and become a leading provider of business technologies, with offices throughout Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Throughout it all, we’ve remained committed to four cornerstone core values, tenets that have served as the bedrock of our operations, guiding our daily interactions with one another and enabling us to deliver on our promise of providing world class customer service.

Let’s take a closer look at our founding, our cornerstone core values, and the growth, commitment and service that have made us a leading provider of business technologies today.

 

Our Founding and Growth Over the Years

As a salesman for Victor adding machines, E.O. Johnson became fascinated by copy machines, after seeing someone making copies for the first time. E.O. was intrigued in this emerging technology of the 1950s, and he immediately saw the potential. He reached out to 3M and soon served as their dealer, salesman, service professional and support person for their copiers throughout north, central and western Wisconsin. On May 1, 1957, Emery (E.O.) Johnson opened the doors of EO Johnson Company for business in Wausau, Wisconsin.

As his business took off and the client base grew, the company expanded and added staff. By 1966, the company boasted $450,000 in annual sales, with just nine employees. By 1972, the company topped $1 million in revenue.

In 1975, we were joined by Roger King, who has had an incredible tenure with EO Johnson. In 2007, he was named our company President and Chief Operations Officer, a role in which he has continued to serve since the appointment of Dave Greene in 2016. In preparation for succession and as acting president, Dave Greene brings more than 35 years of experience in the industry. Roger King will officially retire in May 2019 after 44 years with EO Johnson.

In 1985, the company hit $5 million in annual sales. That same year, a second generation of the E.O. Johnson family joined the ranks. Mary Jo Johnson, daughter of E.O., began working her way up in the company her father founded. She touched many aspects of the business and gained expertise in inside sales, sales, color copiers, faxes and training. In 1999, she was named CEO of E.O. Johnson, a role which she still holds today.

The company continued to grow and expand. By 1990, annual sales topped $10 million. That year, EO Johnson acquired Computerland. In 1994 the company further expanded through the acquisition of Cornerstone Office Products in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Throughout it all, Mary Jo Johnson continued to advance professionally within the company.

In 1999, Mary Jo Johnson was named CEO of EO Johnson. With annual sales reaching $20 million, the company took its first steps into the La Crosse, Wisconsin market.

From there, the growth of EO Johnson Company continued, with the acquisition of AOS in Eau Claire (2003), AOS in La Crosse and Rochester and annual sales approaching $30 million (2005), and the acquisition of RMM coper/printer business in Wausau and Eau Claire.

In 2011, we bid a sad farewell to our founder, E.O., who passed away. Yet we are deeply proud that his spirit remains very much alive in our company, even today.

Our company growth continued at a rapid pace. In 2012, EO Johnson acquired Locknet®, further expanding our slate of offerings to include managed IT services, and sales climbing to $37 million annually. In 2013, EO Johnson was honored as Small Business of the Year in Eau Claire. In the following year, we acquired SPIN Business Group and Agosto Managed Services. With yearly sales at $49.5 million, we expanded and opened our Minneapolis office. By 2016, our annual sales surpassed $54.6 million, and we were extremely proud to receive a Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics.

 

Our Cornerstone Core Values at EO Johnson

Our celebrated ethics are an essential part of who we are as a company. That’s why we adhere to four cornerstone core values, which determine our direction and keep us on track as a company. They are an essential part of who we are as an organization, and they form the bedrock of our operations.

Core Value #1: We are Caring

To us, this means we genuinely care about one another, our clients and our vendors. Like a family, we celebrate our successes and support each other with compassion in challenging times. We believe in contributing our time and resources to the communities in which we are privileged to do business and raise our families. We give each other the benefit of the doubt and believe in the importance of honesty, integrity and reliability.

Core Value #2: Trustworthy

We have invested decades building our reputation of being trustworthy. We believe in always doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. We have learned to trust and be trusted. As E.O. Johnson was fond of saying, “Do the right things and the right things will happen.”

Core Value #3: Customer Vision

To us, Customer Vision means seeing the business through the customer’s eyes and responding to each client as a team to exceed their expectations. Our founder, E.O. Johnson passionately believed in this founding principle of Customer Vision and it continues to be a touchstone for us today. Very employee at every level of our company serves our clients and one another with this core value in mind.

Core Value #4: Stability

Stability is a direct result of our commitment to accept the responsibility placed upon us, while maintaining trust in one another, our clients and our communities. And our stability as a company ensures we will be able to continue to provide world class service to our customers for decades to come. We take pride in our rich history, and the hard work of our forbearers has afforded us the stability we have as a company today. We pay it forward by making decisions based on what is best for the long-term, for both our customers and the enterprise. And we recognize that responsible stewardship of our precious financial and human resources plays an integral role in our organization’s future stability. 

 

The Evolution of Business Information Technologies

Over the years, EO Johnson has embraced the latest in technologies, with a commitment to providing the best in business technology innovations to our customers. Far beyond just copiers, as the pace of business quickened, truly innovative technologies came and went and we offered them all, always committed to providing the best for our customers. Among these technologies, you may be surprised to know that over the years we have supplied and serviced:

  • Typewriters
  • Overhead projectors
  • Background music for retail businesses and offices
  • Microfilm systems
  • Fax machines
  • Color copiers
  • Computers
  • Digital connectivity/networking
  • Drinking water systems
  • Managed Print Services
  • Document Management/Software/Workflow
  • High volume color and black/white production printing
  • Managed IT/Network Services

Even today we continue to watch the horizon for the latest in technologies, doing whatever it takes to make sure we meet our customers’ needs, help them stay abreast of business technology developments as they arise, and continue to exceed their expectations.

 

EO Johnson Business Technologies Today

Today, EO Johnson has grown to more than 280 employees across three states with locations in Wausau, Eau Claire and La Crosse, Wisconsin; Rochester and Minneapolis, Minnesota and Cedar Falls, Iowa. Every step of the way, we’ve embraced opportunities for innovation, which have taken us far beyond the humble small copier company from which we have grown.

Today, we continue to embrace the latest in office and business technologies, with a goal of providing world-class service to our customers who count on us to help them navigate business information technologies and innovations. It’s all about helping them remain competitive by maximizing productivity and improving processes, while protecting their company data and looking out for the safety of their clients.

With Mary Jo Johnson at the helm, we are proud to remain a family company with rock-solid values and a commitment to our clients and our communities. As a leading business technologies company today, we provide managed IT services, multifunction copiers and printers, secure document management and scanning, business process consulting and production printing and we are honored to serve large, small and medium-sized businesses, helping them navigate the fast-paced world of business technologies.

We know our founder, E.O. Johnson would be proud that we not only continue to carry on his legacy, but build upon it each year: embracing innovations and emerging technology to better serve our customers, and providing world class customer service, while always remaining true to his original vision. In the beginning, E.O. Johnson founded this company and built it on the business of copiers, but in the end, he also forged a business model no one else can duplicate: one built upon unshakeable values, and a commitment to being the best in business technologies.