Guernsey Enters 50th Year in Business: Notes from the CEO

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May 1st begins, for the Guernsey company, its 50th year in business. I started the company in May 1971 and, frankly, would have never imagined that I would still be at the helm going on five decades later. Two thoughts come to mind:

  1. I’m extremely proud that the company not only survived during these past many years, we grew in all but two years. It’s cliché-ish, but the people I’ve surrounded myself with are the reason why we’ve grown and prospered through the 49 years.
  2. 2020, the start of our 50th year, will likely be the 3rd year we will have not grown the company. I never imagined navigating through a pandemic; much less it happening in a year we would otherwise celebrate in a loud and profound way. Instead, we hunker down and conserve cash in the effort to survive an environment where all three states and the District of Columbia are shut down for the time being. Sobering… Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, Guernsey’s Mid-Atlantic footprint, are shut down for all except essential businesses.

The good news, Guernsey is considered an essential business as we supply all manner of workplace product used by healthcare, education and traditional offices. So, we are not shut down entirely and we trudge on. The really good news is that we’ve been through many economic downturns and we’ve managed to emerge intact. We’ve also seen the advent of mammoth competitors come into our space over the years and we’ve overcome the distinct advantages that large, public entities are said to have. The simple explanation is that the Guernsey staff will morph to whatever the conditions and competition require; and we still trudge on.

So today, five months into 2020, with 49 years behind us we encounter what may be the most difficult economic hurdle ever…not just for us but for everyone, personally and professionally. We have responders in our own midst, drivers delivering essential products, receiving personnel unloading tractor trailers, pickers fulfilling orders, customer service folks managing web based and telephonic order throughput and account executives and purchasing staff helping customers source masks, hand sanitizer and all manner of crucial items. What will be cause for celebration will be when the stellar efforts of Guernsey personnel see to the company successfully completing -and we will- its 50th year on May 1st, 2021.

– Dave M. Guernsey


Today, we are kicking off a new series called Guernsey Diaries. As Dave has mentioned, this pandemic is unique, but there are similar experiences Guernsey has weathered that we hope to draw upon in order to carry on. We are all going through a time of crisis, and we want to share with you a view from the front lines as an essential small business. We are here for you and with you, as we always have been – that won’t change. This isn’t easy for anyone, but we’re striving to meet the challenges day-by-day and do whatever we can to help our community. We’ll be documenting our very own experiences and perspectives as we navigate through this and hopefully in another decade or so, we can look back at these diaries and celebrate.

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