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News Release

Junior Achievement And Staples Form Unique Partnership To Celebrate JA's 50th Anniversary In Southeastern Michigan
DETROIT--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 8, 1999--

    JA of Southeastern Michigan rolls out JA Connections curriculum
    Staples' associates and small business customers to volunteer

Staples The Office Superstore and Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan have joined together in a unique 50-class partnership benefiting more than 1,250 southeastern Michigan high school students. This partnership celebrates JA's 50th anniversary of providing business and economics lessons in southeastern Michigan. Staples' financial support and volunteers will allow thousands of local students to experience the JA Connections curriculum this year.

The partnership announcement was made today at the Economic Club of Detroit, by partnership spokesman Bill Laimbeer, Jr., president and chief operating officer of Laimbeer Packaging and former Detroit Pistons star center, and Thomas G. Stemberg, Staples chairman and chief executive officer. JA of Southeastern Michigan President, Thomas Dewar, and more than 90 JA students also were in attendance to kick off the semester-long program.

Michigan Gov. John Engler said of the partnership, "I am proud of those businesses involved in bettering Michigan students' educations and I challenge those who are not involved, to follow the lead of this special JA/Staples partnership."

"The partnership with Junior Achievement is one of the most exciting and promising endeavors Staples has undertaken in any community. The entrepreneurial spirit represented by the curriculum is something I encourage within Staples and what we want to foster in the communities in which we do business," said Stemberg. "Students will reap the benefit of Staples experience as a growing retail company and Junior Achievement's wisdom from 50 years of helping young people in southeastern Michigan learn the basics of business."

"Junior Achievement reaches thousands of local students each year, but the Staples partnership provides a great opportunity to introduce this new and crucial curriculum to high school students," said Laimbeer. "As a Michigan employer, I know how important it is for high school students to have this type of training before they enter the workplace."

The JA Connections curriculum, taught by community volunteers, is designed to give high school freshmen and sophomores interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. In addition to funding the JA Connections classes, Staples has recruited 40 classroom volunteers, including its area store general managers and regional district managers. Staples is also proud to partner with its local small-business customers such as J. deKoven Phelps, managing consultant of 2Innovative Internet consultants of Ypsilanti, Mich., and Les Alexander of T/J Technologies of Ann Arbor, Mich., who will be volunteering in JA Connections classes this semester.

In addition to the eight-week-long series of classes, all JA Connections classes will be invited to participate in field trips to local Staples stores. Laimbeer, a successful business owner himself, will address the students at the Rochester Hills and Farmington Hills superstores. The students will learn retailing, interpersonal skills, employee relations and marketing in their classes and these field trips will reinforce those lessons.

The 50 Connections classes will be partnered with 14 Staples stores in Ann Arbor, Brighton, Chesterfield Township, Clawson, Commerce Township, Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, Monroe, Rochester Hills, Roseville, Sterling Heights, Taylor and Westland.

Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan trains volunteers and provides them with classroom materials and lesson plans to teach business, economics and life-skills lessons to 2,500 Kindergarten through 12th grade classes throughout the ten-county area each school year. Nationally, JA reached more than 3.1 million students last school year and another one million in 103 other countries.

Staples operates 30 superstores in Michigan, including the Farmington Hills store which was the first to open in southeastern Michigan in 1995, and is an active participant in business and education in those communities. Staples recently sponsored a series of small-business seminars in the local superstores and last October, awarded Port Huron Northern High School with a $5,000 Staples gift certificate and a visit from Bobby Ross, the Detroit Lions head coach. Coach Ross was named as a 1998 Staples Coach of the Week winner.

Staples, Inc. is a $7 billion retailer of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and business, from home-based businesses to Fortune 50 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. Headquartered outside Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has more than 37,000 employees serving customers through more than 915 office superstores, mail order catalogs, an e-commerce site and contract business. More information about the company can be found at

     CONTACT:  Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan
               Christine Long
               Staples Public Relations
               Christina Erridge