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On the cutting edge

Headquartered in his garage with two copier models to sell and service, George Sands founded the first and only copy machine dealership in the Florida Keys in 1975.

Today, Sands of the Keys still sells copiers, but now also offers printers, facsmilies and combination units that operate alone or as part of a computer network. As office equipment technology continues to advance, Sands sees local businesses adopting more multi-function machines connected to the Internet and interacting with computer networks at remote locations. But regardless of what features and functions technology delivers, the focus of Sands of the Keys will remain unchanged.

All About Service

The company's steady growth over the last quarter century had nothing to do with luck or chance, but with a long-standing commitment to providing efficient service, ensuring customer satisfaction, and doing business in the local business community.

"We maintain an unmatched response time to service calls and everyone working here, whether in sales, administration or service, is focused taking care of customers first," George said. "We have earned our customers one at a time by providing service, support and reliability."

Locally owned and operated

Although many local businesses are owned and run by local residents, Sands of the Keys truly takes its "locally operated" role to heart. The office walls in the new Islamorada headquarters building are not only adorned with local artwork, but the walls themselves were designed, constructed, and painted by locals. "Being a local business makes you realize the importance of doing business locally," George said. "We support other local businesses every way we can."

Steady growth

One business relationship at a time, George built his fledgling dealership into a thriving business that needed space to grow. The first commercial office for Sands of the Keys was in warehouse on Plantation Key. From there, the business moved to an office building a little farther south on the island, and then into the 88888 Building, where Sands of the Keys prospered for several years. In 1999, Sands of the Keys purchased its new Islamorada headquarters, which at first was little more than an abandoned bowling alley turned radio station.

Islamorada Headquarters

Sands then hired local designers and contractors to transform a long-neglected building at MM 86.4 into today's 8,000-square-foot headquarters. Originally built to house the "Bowl Away," the 1964 structure had seen many uses throughout the years and was in need of a full restoration and major repairs, including a completely new roof. The Sands' remodeling efforts were not only appreciated by the surrounding community, but they were recognized by the Islamorada Chamber with a much-deserved "Beautification Award."

Key West to Homestead

In addition to its new Islamorada office, Sands also operates a business office in Key West which opened IN 1994 in the 201 Historic District. The company now serves area businesses from Key West to Homestead.

Dedicated, Detailed Staff

More than half of the Sands' employees have worked for the company for ten years or more. Marti Mincer credits her longevity to the management style. The work atmosphere is positive and the managers are all thoughtful and considerate, Marti said. "It's a great place to work." The company also promotes from within and offers profit sharing and other benefits.