December 12, 1988 12:00 PM

Years ago there was a group called the Staples Singers; now, live from West 36th Street in Manhattan, comes what might be called the Staples-Rolodex-Rubber Cement-and-Two-Boxes-of-No. 2 Pencils Singers. At PAD—for Performing Artists Diversified, purveyors of fine office supplies—the 21 employees, singers, dancers and actors all, respond to customers’ requests in song, harmonizing about the wonders of everything from paper tape to Post-It-Notes. But wait; there’s the phone…

(A PAD clerk answers; two sidle over to form a chorus.)

“Some actors drive taxis, just to survive

Others wait tables in crummy old dives

But we do it different, we sell office supplies

Office suppllliiiiies!”

Er, could you be more specific?

(Okay, there are…) “Paper clips and pens,

Rolodex and dictionaries,

Letterheads and desks,

Envelopes and stationery.”

“There’s a desperate need for artists to be able to make a living without doing throwaway jobs,” explains PAD president Steve Sawyer, 41, a singer-songwriter, who founded the company four years ago. “Artists have to deal with rejection every day. Here they’re understood and receive encouragement as well as a paycheck.” He anticipates $1.2 million in sales this year. “I’m still a dreamer,” he says, “but now I consider this my stage.”

Saleswoman Gemma Kochis, 28, an actress who claims to be “the Lauren Bacall of the office-supply industry,” heard about PAD from a friend. “I thought, ‘Sales, office supplies—yuck!’ But it’s the same thing you do with your career. You sell those paper clips the same way you’d sell yourself to a producer.”

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