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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: economic and workforce development

Sara Trenery, Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development

On July 10, 1964, Alan and Lois Elkin opened a small business selling copying supplies, ribbons, carbons and duplicators in 1,200 square feet of space. Little did they know at the time that one day this small business would become Maryland’s largest independent document management company, Advance –The Document Specialists, employing over 180 people at four locations.

It took just three years before Advance outgrew its space and moved its eight employees to Timonium.  In an effort to demonstrate their copier products to the customer, Advance created the “Curbside Copier Showroom,” a modified Winnebago equipped with copy machines for mobile demonstrations.

With business booming, Advance moved to its current headquarters in Cockeysville.  In 1990 Jeff Elkin joined his parents in the business and in 2000 was named CEO of the company.

With annual revenues approaching $40 million, Advance continues to receive national recognition and awards for their commitment to providing outstanding service-not just during “normal business hours” but during evenings, weekends and holidays. Advance is also a manufacturer’s certified service training center, one of the few in the entire U.S.

In 2006, 2008 and 2009, Advance’s employees rated the company one of the best places to work, making Advance a finalist for Baltimore Business Journal’s Best Places to Work award.

Alan Elkin describes his philosophy this way: “Advance is not just a job. Advance is our life. We love what we do. It is what defines us. “We Live and Breathe This Stuff” is not just the tagline for our commercials; it is our culture.”

 As Advance celebrates 50 years in business, Baltimore County salutes the Elkin family for their commitment to their customers and their community.


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