Annette van de Kamp-Wright
Editor, Jewish Press
Amee Zetzman and Jeff Kavich of All Makes Office Equipment Co. will be the featured speakers at the Jewish Business Leaders’ breakfast at Happy Hollow. The event will take place Wednesday, April 17, from 7:30-9 a.m.
It will be a busy day for the Kavich family, as the Omaha Chamber of Commerce will honor The Kavich family (Jeff Kavich, Larry Kavich, Lazier Kavich (1914-1996) and Amee Zetzman) as 2019 Business Hall of Fame Honorees. Every year, past and present, outstanding Omaha-area business leaders become part of the Omaha Business Hall of Fame at a gala event. Initiated in 1993 as part of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s centennial anniversary, the Hall of Fame event includes a dinner reception, induction ceremony and dessert. Achievements are then showcased in a permanent display at The Durham Museum. This year’s gala will take place Wednesday, April 17 at 6 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center.
Jeff Kavich is the President and CEO of All Makes Office Equipment Co. and in that role oversees all day-to-day activities in the Omaha headquarters. Jeff participates in major projects and lends his personal guarantee of satisfaction on every project. His involvement provides long-term direction to the continuing growth of All Makes.
Amee Zetzman is the Executive Vice President and CFO for All Makes Office Equipment Co. and Jeff’s sister. In addition to overseeing all day-to-day activities in the Lincoln, Kearney and Des Moines, IA, stores, Amee is responsible for all financial matters, as well as overseeing the purchasing, customer service, operations and IT departments.
Jeff played an instrumental role in the implementation of All Makes’ Quality Improvement Process in the early ‘90s and continues adapting those teachings to current work trends. Jeff remains actively involved with several office furniture industry organizations, community boards and nonprofit organizations.
Amee has been with All Makes since 1994 and is part of the fourth generation of her family to run the 100-year-old business. Prior to joining All Makes, Amee was a manager for Arthur Andersen & Co., specializing in small business clients. Zetzman received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, with a major in Accounting. She is proud to serve on several local community boards, nonprofits and industry-specific organizations.
It was 1918 when Jeff and Amee’s great-grandfather Harry Ferer first opened the All Makes Typewriter Company. After 20 years, Ferer’s son-in-law Lazier Kavich took over, adding government surplus and used office furniture to the inventory. In 1960, this prompted the name change to ‘All Makes Office Equipment Company.’ Lazier’s son Larry joined the company in 1965 and eventually passed the family business to his children in 2004.
All Makes is part of the Omaha landscape. Cities change and Omaha is no different, but in the middle of all that change there is great comfort in seeing a business with true staying power. Just let it sink in for a moment: they have been here for a century. Not only has All Makes been around that long, the company has grown and continues to be successful, both as a business and as a community partner.
Trust, honesty and integrity: these are the core values the Kavich family has lived by all these years. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the non-profit work the family does.
To celebrate the company’s centennial, All Makes used $100,000 to donate remodeled workspaces for a deserving nonprofit in each of their locations: Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney, Nebraska, and Des Moines, Iowa. More than 100 nonprofits were nominated for the “All Makes 100-year-100k office makeover contest.” A team of judges composed of community leaders and vendor sponsors voted and narrowed it down to five non-profits in each market. Then, community-wide voting took place over a one-month period. 73,480 votes were placed on the voting platform before the winners were announced.
In Omaha, the Autism Center of Nebraska—which supports and enhances the quality of life for persons with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families.
In Lincoln, the Child Guidance Center, is dedicated to providing child-centered, family-focused mental health services in Lincoln.
In Kearney, the HelpCare Clinic—which provides life-changing medical care to the uninsured, impoverished residents of Buffalo and Kearney Counties.
And, finally, in Des Moines, Meals from the Heartland —their vision is to alleviate life-threatening hunger through education, engagement and feeding.
Prior to the 100th anniversary contest, All Makes had done three non-profit makeovers: Angels Among Us, Friendship Home, and Ollie Webb. All Makes has done work for several other nonprofits including Ronald McDonald, Heartland Family Services, and the Women’s Center for Advancement.
“It’s not enough to be a business,” Amee said. “We have to be a partner, a family member. We are part of the fabric of the community. That means stepping up when we see a need.”
As was the case recently, when a call went out on All Makes’ Facebook page: anyone who, due to flooding, needed a dry work space could reach out.
“We were heartbroken to hear the stories of those impacted by the awful flooding in Nebraska and Iowa,” Amee said. “As a family-owned company, we wanted to help. We were happy to provide office space and WiFi access at any of our office locations in Nebraska and Iowa to anyone displaced or impacted by flooding. We were also able to provide office furniture to businesses in need.”
Earlier this year, All Makes worked with Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture to furnish items to the Girls, Inc. of Omaha Protégé House, which bridges the gap between childhood and adulthood by providing transitional housing to girls who age out of foster care.
The All Makes showroom used to be filled with nothing but desks, chairs and filing cabinets.
“If you walk through the showroom today,” Jeff said, “you’ll see some soft seating, you’ll see some work stations, you’ll see some demountable wall products lighting: you’ll see so many different things that are so different than what the industry looked like 30 years ago.” And because some things don’t change, they still have typewriters.
That, and big hearts.