The year is 1989. Your thumb hovers over a well worn Walkman’s ‘rewind’ button. The high-tech floppy disc in your briefcase is a prized item, it stores two whole megabytes of information after all. Your thoughts drift to Deborah Norville’s NBC Morning News report: The “information superhighway” has just grown. It’s now hosted on an impressive 100,000 computer machines. How much longer will this internet trend last?
When asked if he could have imagined that Lewis Digital would be a local success, celebrating thirty years of business in Tallahassee, Robert Lewis simply answers, “No.”
The idea to start the company originated after a friend showed Robert an article in Entrepreneur Magazine highlighting printer cartridge work as a blossoming business venture. That was enough to spark his own entrepreneurial spirit. It was risky. Faced with an opportunity to try his hand at a hastily growing market, Robert Lewis, along with his father, Harold made the jump right into the driver’s seat and grabbed the wheel.
In the beginning, Robert split time between building what was then “Lewis Laser Products” and working a full-time office job at Monks Office Machines full time. As fate would have it, Lewis Digital’s office building is the exact location that housed Monks when Robert partnered with his father to start their own company.
Turn a Wrench
How does one successfully get into business with a family member like Robert and his father?
“You have to get along. You can’t both be the same. You both can’t be conservative and you both can’t be risk-takers. I’m a little bit more of a risk-taker and he is more risk-averse. So is Tracy.”
“We complement each other.” Tracy Lewis chimes in. Sitting with the two of them certainly validates their philosophy. After Tracy and Robert were married, she came to work for the company in a part-time position so she could go back to FSU and earn her Masters Degree. 22 years later, Tracy is the President of the company. She ended up staying for a while. It’s a testament to their cohesive personal and professional bond. The close-knit family kinship that initiated Lewis Digital’s successful brand has only strengthened and grown over time.
Those who have worked with the Lewis team have come to know the internal practice of caring support is more than abundant for customers as well. Clients of Lewis Digital have grown to expect fast, efficient service while feeling like natural extensions of the ever-growing “LD” family.
Robert and Tracy have cracked the code for being successful entrepreneurs and business owners. Balance.
In her free time, Tracy Lewis is a skilled race car driver. They both are. There are spaces in the Lewis Digital Offices overflowing with an array of trophies and ribbons. It’s impressive, looking upon the glittering treasure-trove hidden within a digital office solutions company of all places. Having a good dose of fun in-and-out of the office is a core value in the Lewis household. All the better if a little competition is involved.
Occasional lighthearted jabs and teasing are commonplace between the husband-wife, President-Vice President duo.
Tracy and Robert demonstrate a sweet, lived-in, symbiotic business partnership. The Lewis Digital family is no different. They are a team made of almost two dozen equally sharp, skilled, kind and friendly professionals.
Accelerating Office Solutions
The 30-Year milestone for the company also marks a turning point into being Tallahassee’s primary source for full smart office technology. Lewis Digital’s hardworking President and Vice President have expertly secured partnerships with SHARP, Konica Minolta, Riso and others with the same dedication that earned them gleaming car-racing awards.
The best part is they get to share the spoils of those partnerships with their clients.
The ‘laser printer’ company that set down roots at a time where the longevity of the internet was in question, now offers the most cutting edge office technology on the market.
Interactive SHARP Aquos Boards for office presentations are captivating tools tailored to improve workspace productivity and collaboration. The eco-friendly Skywell water-cooler technology that uses smart-tech to create water out of thin air is breathtaking.
Even if your office faces technical difficulties, Lewis Digital, true to their roots, still provides printer, computer networking, and digital office support.
Robert’s email signature, a quote from famed race car driver Mario Andretti, urges close contacts to speed ahead. “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
Robert Lewis lived by those very words in 1989 when he seized on a business opportunity and ran.
Tracy, (the better racer of the two if you ask her) did the same, flipping a small temporary position into a permanent leadership role; President.
Throughout the interview, the two, who had provided a wealth of wisdom on professional success with ease, were only stumped by one question:
How would they sum up the last 30 years of Lewis Digital in one word?
Conceivably, for a business that started in 1989, survived Y2K, recessions, shoulder pads and floppy disks, it’s impossible for them to settle on a single word.
Being professional competitive drivers, the couple knows it’s best not to look too long into the rear mirrors. Eyes ahead, Robert and Tracy Lewis know exactly where their company is headed. They carry pride in what they’ve done, clients served, the partnerships built.
With a keen focus on the road before them and a warm but brief glance in the rear view; Robert and Tracy Lewis hit the gas, racing toward their next 30-year journey. Hop in.