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Cole Papers marks 100 years in business

Cole Papers is celebrating 100 years in business. Special to The Forum1 / 3
Chuck Perkins is president and CEO of Cole Papers. Special to The Forum2 / 3
The original Cole Papers office was in downtown Fargo. Special to The Forum3 / 3

FARGO—Cole Papers started life 100 years ago as Fargo Paper Co. in a small office in downtown Fargo.

Today, the company is still headquartered in Fargo, but it also has locations in eight other communities throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota.

Besides paper products, the company offers a wide variety of other products, including food packaging, office supplies, and maintenance products and equipment.

The company also has a wholesale flooring and cabinet division that provides various flooring products to a variety of customers ranging from dealers to housing developers.

It all started with Robert Cole, grandfather of Nancy Cole, who is married to Chuck Perkins, president of the company.

At the time Robert Cole was starting Cole Papers, Perkins' mother and grandparents were opening the Gardner Hotel three blocks away in downtown Fargo.

Ultimately, Perkins, who grew up in Texas, and Nancy Cole met in Washington D.C., where they were married.

The couple moved to Fargo in 1980 after Nancy Cole's father, Prentiss Cole, asked Perkins to join the family business.

Over the years, the company added locations and changed its name.

Today, Cole Papers has about 150 employees and is considering a possible expansion into Wisconsin, but it has some challenges to meet first, according to Perkins.

He said making a move to high-technology software and making some building changes at two locations are among the steps the company needs to take.

"If we make the changes that are needed, I think we have a good chance of moving forward," Perkins said.

In addition to Fargo, the company now has locations in Grand Forks, Minot and Bismarck in North Dakota; Aberdeen and Sioux Falls in South Dakota; and Mankato, Minneapolis and St. Cloud in Minnesota.

Dave Olson
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