Ed Bircham received his first sales award nearly 40 years ago, as a young man selling carbon paper, typewriters and mimeograph machines. Today, his store at 3004 N. Nevada displays dozens of awards, and Bircham is proudly showing them to Akihiro Nasu, president of Kyocera Mita America.
Kyocera Mita is Bircham’s flagship product, and the company produces everything from color copies, high-speed digital copiers, facsimile machines and toner cartridges.
While Bircham and Nasu have met on several occasions, this is the first time the New Jersey-based Nasu has visited Bircham’s business.
“We have a very long and satisfying relationship with Mr. Bircham,” Nasu said. “He is a very fine gentleman and we have a fine partnership.”
Nasu, his traveling companion Masayuki Higuchi, vice president, national sales administration and strategy, are traveling to several of Kyocera Mita retailers, and it is unusual for him to visit stores in smaller cities.
Nasu enjoyed his visit, with Bircham proudly showing him family photographs, pictures from his vacations, and the area in his store where people can drop off damaged or worn out American flags. Several hundred flags have been collected, and local Boy Scout troops properly destroy them by burning.
“I have known Mr. Nasu for many years, and you have to realize it is not common for him to visit small companies,” Bircham told the Business Journal.
However, after lunch at the Broadmoor, and seeing its golf course, Nasu quipped to Bircham: “We come back again – we play golf.”
An emissary from the Colorado Springs Office of International Affairs, Carmon Stiles, was also in Bircham’s store during Nasu’s visit.
“I know this isn’t the appropriate time,” Stiles said to Nasu. “But I would very much like to talk to you about locating a facility in Colorado Springs.”
Ever polite, Nasu nodded and smiled.
Bircham Office Products began operation in a “hole in the wall,” Bircham said. It moved to its present 9,000- square-foot office in 1985. Bircham owns the building, which he said once harbored a company called the House of Oscar. In the 1970s, the building at the intersection of Fillmore and Nevada was a restaurant called Bob’s Café.
The company has grown from Bircham and his wife to about 30 employees, with annual sales of about $5 million. Bircham’s guarantees service on its products will occur within four hours or less.
Bircham’s son Paul, who has an MBA from Colorado University, is vice president.
“Paul will take the company to the next level,” Bircham said. Bircham is fond of using the term “Come on America, We Can Do Better than This” in some of his advertising. Bircham and his wife are from England, and they became U.S. citizens on July 23, 1993.
Kyocera Mita has 5,700 employees, and was founded in 1934. Mita Industrial Corporation was founded in 1948. Kyocera purchased Mita in January 2000, and the company became Kyocera Mita Corporation.