FedEx Kills Kinko’s Brand

June 20th, 2008

In today’s edition of PrintAction‘s weekly newsletter, I

found the headline: FEDEX KILLS KINKO’S BRAND. I had read this elsewhere, but

had not previously encountered the embittered remarks of the company founder, Paul


I could paraphrase the accompanying article, but as I’m a

contributing writer to the publication, I hope that editor Jon Robinson will

not object to my quoting it in full:


In a surprising move by the

shipping company, FedEx will be rebranding all of the FedEx Kinko’s stores into

entities known as FedEx Office. This move came just before the company

announced a $241-million loss, mainly attributed to Kinko’s. The name will cost

nearly $700 million.


“Kinko’s was primarily a copy and

print-service provider when it was acquired in 2004,” said Brian D. Philips,

president and chief executive officer of FedEx Office. “The name FedEx Office

more accurately represents our broader role of providing superior information

and services through our company-owned, digitally connected locations around

the world. We are a back office for small businesses and a branch office for

medium to large businesses and mobile professionals.”


Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea issued

a statement about this move. The first Kinko’s store was founded in Isla Vista,

California in 1970; Orfalea left the company in 2000. “Friends, acquaintances

and journalists have been asking me for comments on FedEx’s recent decision to

drop the Kinko’s name from their copy and print centres. Although I sold my

financial interest in Kinko’s several years ago, this news hit me hard. I have

mixed emotions, because Kinko’s as I knew it has been gone for a very long



“For 30 years, I worked with tens

of thousands of fellow Kinko’s co-workers to grow an innovative customer-driven

business. Every stage of life required Kinko’s: being a student, business

owner, bride, job-seeker, sales person, event planner, soccer parent and much

more. We took pride in helping customers achieve their goals and always put

customers first.


“Those of us who built the company

from a single site in a hamburger stand near the campus of UCSB in 1970 to an

international network at the millennium assumed our grandchildren would know

what it meant when we said we created Kinko’s. Sadly, they won’t. At Kinko’s

our motto was ‘In Ideas We Trust.’ Those ideas, expressed in the way we shared

power, shared profits, and shared knowledge, touched tens of thousands of

coworkers and millions of customers from 1970 to 2000. The signs may be coming

off the building, but when you next meet a former Kinko’s coworker and he or

she brightens up to tell you how it used to be, take note of the fire in their

eyes. That’s the Kinko’s I’ll remember.”


I think that most

business owners realize that when you sell your company, you’d best focus on

enjoying the payout — the new owners will do their best to remove any evidence

of your legacy as soon as humanly possible.