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Meet Paul Kaufmann of Shred Spot in Northbrook

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paul Kaufmann.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started Shred Spot in 2009 to create a Self-Service Paper Shredding Kiosk that we will place in office buildings. While working on the kiosk, we have built a full-service document destruction company serving businesses and consumers. We provide monthly service, including pickups and drop-offs, as well as taking care of one time or regular purges of documents, from one bag to 100,000 lbs. We provide secure containers at clients’ offices for scheduled pickups or purges for them to fill and then we return to pick them up. Customers appreciate Shred Spot’s responsiveness and service. We make appointments with a 1 hour window, not 8 hours, and we show up on time. Customers are also able to come into our plant to see their papers get shredded.

Everything we take in is recycled. The shredded paper is baled at our plant and then sent to paper mills to become toilet tissue and paper towels. Each ton of paper recycled saves 17 trees! The boxes we take in with the paper (not all shredding companies accept cardboard boxes) are baled and recycled at a cardboard plant. We also accept pallets and electronics for recycling.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Creating a new type of shredding hardware which will disrupt the industry in addition to a new, customer-focused document destruction company, has not been a smooth road. Finding the right vendors and trying different designs for our kiosk has taken a great deal of trial and error, but we are just about complete. Access to capital for a new, small, non-tech company is a challenge every day. The banking system is horrible with regard to small businesses and our growth has primarily been driven by our continued increase in revenues, which we’ve done every year.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Shred Spot – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
As a document destruction company, we do a lot of recycling. Our paper recycling efforts saved over 4,000 trees in 2017. We also recycled over 1,000 lbs. of electronics every month. I’m very proud of that and our efforts to be a green company. I also believe it is important to be part of the local community and give back. We provide free shredding to many non-profits and do quite a bit of volunteering. I have been involved with the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce for many years, serve as both and Ambassador and Board Member, mentor new members and was named the Chamber’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year. I also volunteer with the Northbrook Civic Foundation, Hunger Resource Network and am a founder of North Shore Helpers.

What excites me about being a company owner is happy customers. We realize that without happy customers, we don’t have a business. That is why I am very proud of our 100+ great online reviews. We achieve that by providing superior service and flexibility to our customers, which is not common in our industry.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We have big plans for the future. In addition to continuing to grow our plant-based shredding business, our Self-Service Paper Shredding Kiosk will be operational this year. Our plan is to deploy 1,000 kiosks over the next 6 years and grow into a national company.

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