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Huber built little backroom space into thriving local business

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Office Hub printer Tony Schoentrup supervises a print job on a sunny afternoon in downtown Shelbyville.
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Office Hub Owner Shannon Huber, right, and Office Manager Jan Itce, left, have built a business on the corners of East Washington and Pikestreets that is succeeding so well that it is pushing maximum capacity inside the building.
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Office Hub’s staff will go out of its way to fulfill the business or personal needs of a customer.
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A political flyer exits one of Office Hub’s printers.

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

Shannon Huber sits comfortably in a nice office with big windows that allow her to monitor traffic up and down East Washington Street in downtown Shelbyville. 

After a few minutes talking with the energetic Shelbyville High School graduate, it’s easy to realize she rarely sits there and gazes out the windows she wishes she could push open to let some fresh air in. 

Huber admits sitting still is not her strength. It’s what lead to a career change after 10 years working as a receptionist in a local law office. An outside sales representative for the Tippecanoe Press Inc. informed Huber there was a sales opening and she was ready to get out from behind a desk.

“I was bored,” she admitted. “I have a hard time sitting still. I did that for 10 years. That was a lot for me.”

For seven years, Huber loved her work, built a loyal customer base and met the woman that has become a key cog in Office Hub’s working structure – Jan Itce.

“Jan and I worked together at Tippecanoe for seven years,” said Huber. “She was inside sales. I was outside sales.”

Seven years came to an end when Tippecanoe closed its doors. That could have discouraged Huber. It did the opposite. She talked with her husband, Scott, and expressed an interest in going into the office supplies business for herself.

“I never thought that it wouldn’t work,” she said forcefully.

Neither did Itce because she believed in one thing.

“I never thought that it wouldn’t work either because she can sell,” said Itce pointing to Huber.

With a pole barn on her property full of paper supplies, Huber and Itce set up shop in June 2006 in the backroom of the building they currently inhabit at 60 E. Washington St. – one that used to house a travel agency and the local radio station co-owned by Huber’s husband.

“It started at my house,” said Huber. “Then it went from our house to the backroom and then to the (current site of the radio station).”

Two desks were pushed together and Itce and Huber waited for the business to take off.

“We would sit back there and look at each other, our desks butted up against each other going hmmmmm ... let’s go to lunch,” explained Itce. “We would have a nice lunch and wonder when we were going to start getting busy. And it wasn’t very long at all. We started getting phone calls and phone calls.”

Office Hub moved out to Morristown Road to share space with WSVX radio until the downtown building owned by the Hubers was fully vacated.

“We gutted it. We redid everything,” said Huber. “At that time we had all kind of space. We used our pole barn as a warehouse. And at that time we weren’t really into the printing part because we didn’t have the machines yet.”

Huber and Itce both stress there is nothing now they cannot do for a customer. And they mean it because customer service is key to their success.

“People don’t even know we are here,” said Huber of one of the challenges of a small business succeeding locally. “We’ve been in this building for 10 years. Some people don’t know we do printing, don’t know we do signs even though it’s on the window and we say it and we advertise it. But once they realize, they say this is great.”

Huber built a solid sales career because of the way she treated people. That philosophy has carried over into the business she owns.

“I want people to be taken care of the way I want to be taken care of,” she said. “I think we need to go above and beyond to take care of the customers if they need something.”

Itce believes Huber’s philosophy wholeheartedly.

“We don’t really say no to a customer very often,” said Itce. “If I can’t find it and I come to (Shannon), she will find it. That makes me so mad. I don’t know how she does it.”

Taking care of the customer does not just involve those that walk through the front doors. Internet sales make the business that started in Huber’s home bigger than walls can contain.

“It’s pretty incredible when you walk in here and you don’t know what we do,” said Itce. “People will come in that front door and start looking at all the printers and it just amazes people because of how large they are. And then they start asking what they do. It’s amazing how interested they are ... that they can design something and order something.”

“That’s why I say, ‘We’re small but we’re big,’” smiled Huber.