As I take in these last few days of 2017, it's hard not to reflect on the past 363 days and all of the joy, challenges, celebrations, obstacles, and success this year has brought.  City Paper Company celebrated its 120th anniversary this past July.  We hit a milestone of longevity that most family businesses could never dream of and we did it the only way we know how...with an awesome logo!

Double Diamond

In 2017, we sold our building.  After decades and decades (and decades) at 3700 1st Avenue North, it's time to move.  Our warehouse will remain right where it is, but Summer 2018 will bring a fresh new office space for us and we could not be more excited!  Bring on the paint swatches and the furniture catalogs.

Our company, like many others, was tested this year...by the economy, by personnel change, by our wavering confidence at times, by our competition.  We were challenged to be better and do better.  We were asked to differentiate ourselves more, to be more price competitive, to be more creative, and to step up to tables we never dreamed we'd be asked sit at in the first place.  And with each challenge, I watched our team of excellent, hard-working individuals rise higher and higher.  Their unparalleled and unwavering commitment to success was not only a joy to be part of, but has been truly magnificent to witness.  I say "they" because the team at City Paper collectively all shares the same desire: to work together to make our customers so happy they never want to go anywhere else.  Did we always succeed at this goal?  I would be lying if I said yes...and that would also imply we are perfect, which we are not.  Sure...we had missteps and made errors.  At times, we even failed.  But what I can also say is that each and every employee unequivocally learned from those experiences.  Learning from our mistakes is in fact how we better ourselves.

As one of several leaders in our organization, it can be wearing and emotional to be one of the people in charge.  This year, I personally learned that it's okay to show your imperfections and be vulnerable.  In fact, you are likely to gain a lot more credibility and respect through that element of honesty.  I know I am not alone in that I worry about our employees and customers being happy, feeling satisfied, and not going anywhere else.  But I also have learned this year more than any other that all we can do is our very best.  You give your absolute best to each and every person and at the end of the day, I can lay my head down at night and say, "It was enough."

To each and every one of our employees, please accept this as my public, "THANK YOU!"  I am just shy of shouting it from the roof tops.  From our sales reps who are in the field and working their tails off to the inside team supporting them and each of our customers, thank you for your spirit, your dedication, and the passion you exude every day.  You rocked 2017 and 2018 is going to be even stronger.

To our customers, THANK YOU for choosing us, for letting us be your partner.  Thank you for the awesome opportunities, many of which are documented right here on this blog, and for helping us achieve a 120th anniversary.  What a blessing!

Our sales team is about to hit ground running in 2018 at the ASI Orlando Show.  We'll be scouring the floors for the best and coolest and ready to bring it your way very soon.  Oh and we are hiring, so if you are looking for an awesome sales job in Atlanta or Birmingham, we are ready to meet you.

It is with great respect and excitement that I bid adieu to 2017.  So I'm raising my logo'ed coffee mug (item #9732 from Numo, if you're wondering) to 2018 and all of the crazy, wonderful, challenging, but amazing things you are going to bring.  I have never been more ready for you...and neither has City Paper Company.  May 2018 be your best year yet.

Stephanie Friedman