Bringing the Strength of Democracy to Business

The Kinko's concept was sparked in 1969 when Paul Orfalea, then a student at the University of Southern California (USC), noticed his fellow students lining up at a copy machine in the library and realized that few people had easy access to this new technology.

In 1970, with $5,000 borrowed from a local bank, Orfalea rented a 100-square foot space next to a hamburger stand near the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus. This tiny Kinko's featured a single copier with 2.5-cent copies, an offset press, film processing and a small section of school supplies. He named it "Kinko's" after his college nickname, attributed to his curly hair.

By 1975, Kinko's had opened its 24th store with locations scattered throughout California, and that number more than tripled in the next four years alone. By 2000, the chain boasted over 1,000 stores internationally and nearly $2 billion in annual sales.

Orfalea's commitment to partnership, common goals, and trust, helped grow Kinko's into a world-class global business. From 1999-2001, Kinko's earned three consecutive spots on the Fortune Magazine list of "America's Best Companies to Work For."

In early 2004, Kinko's was acquired by FedEx Corporation and became the transportation and shipping giant's fourth operating company. Two months later, Kinko's was rebranded as FedEx Kinko's, and later still rebranded as FedEx Office. Over the course of his career, Paul has founded or partnered with over 200 successful businesses, and has provided consulting expertise to another 225 organizations. Not bad for someone who flunked second grade. 

“Happy fingers ring happy cash registers.”