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Staples, Inc. and Hammermill Papers Announce Second Annual Small Business of the Year Awards; Honorees to be Recognized as Innovative Leaders of the Small Business Community
BW1343  FEB 18,1998      13:12  PACIFIC      16:12  EASTERN


    Business Editors

    CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 18, 1998--Staples, Inc., and Hammermill Papers, in conjunction with DIVIDENDS, Staples' Magazine For And About Small Business, invites nominations for the Second Annual Staples/Hammermill Small Business of the Year Award. Staples developed the awards to recognize companies that are creating innovative niches in the competitive small business marketplace. Nominations will be accepted by anyone associated with a successful small business entrepreneur; self-nominations are also encouraged.
    Award recipients will be chosen by a panel of small business experts, including last year's award recipients. In addition to receiving sponsor merchandise and a Staples gift certificate, winners will be featured in the Special Award Issue of DIVIDENDS, to be mailed in September. Winners will also be invited to an award ceremony at their local Staples store. The deadline for applications is May 16, 1998, and winners will be announced June 2, 1998.
    "As founder of the office superstore industry, Staples understands how critical the small business community is to the health of our economy. This award is a great opportunity to recognize the outstanding efforts and innovation of small businesses and to encourage and support their continued success," notes Ron Sargent, president of North American operations for Staples, Inc.
    This year, program sponsors also include Avery Dennison, Inc., Brother International Corp. and Sauder Woodworking Co.

Categories

    The awards program honors four categories of entrepreneur:

    Home-based -- a small business run from an individual's residence
    Master -- a small business at least three years old
    Start-up -- a small business less than three years old
    Turn-around -- a small business that, after significant
    financial set-backs, has turned around to become a success

Application Process

    Applicants must submit a completed nomination form. Forms can be obtained at your local Staples store, in the April issue of DIVIDENDS, or by calling DIVIDENDS magazine at 312-627-1020. Forms also will be available on-line at www.Staples.com after February 23, 1998.

The Judges and Selection Process

    A panel of expert judges will review and score each of the applications, evaluating challenges faced and overcome by applicants, financial information, management of resources and innovative business practices. Winners will be chosen from a combined point total.

Awards

    Winners will receive a variety of awards, including a Staples gift certificate, sponsor merchandise awards and a feature story in the Special Award Issue of DIVIDENDS, to be mailed in September. Winners will be announced June 2, 1998. Awards are presented to winners in a ceremony at a local Staples store in July, 1998.

Deadline

    Applications must be received by May 16, 1998.

Sponsors

    DIVIDENDS is published five times a year for the 300,000 members of Staples' Dividends program.
    Staples, Inc. currently operates 685 office product superstores in over 150 markets throughout North America and 57 in Germany and the United Kingdom. The company also operates a catalogue business, "Staples Direct," and has contract stationer operations named "Staples Business Advantage" and "Staples National Advantage," which serve the needs of large regional and national corporations, respectively.
    Hammermill Papers is a leading brand of office papers, including paper grades developed especially for ink jet printers and laser printers. Hammermill Jet Print and Hammermill Laser Print Papers are engineered to provide brighter colors and sharper images. Hammermill products are available at Staples retail stores nationwide.
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     CONTACT: DIVIDENDS
              Shannon Watts, 312-627-1020, ext. 22
              dividends@aol.com