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VOL. 127 | NO. 37 | Thursday, February 23, 2012

Firm Reassures Commitment To House Of Mews

By Aisling Maki

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When Memphis-based information technology outsourcing firm Service Assurance last week announced it had been bought out by a division of New Jersey-based Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA Inc., some Memphians questioned whether the acquisition would put the House of Mews in jeopardy.

In 2010, Service Assurance made a long-term commitment to financially support the cat adoption center, part of Puddy Tat Protectors Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to the rescue and care of homeless cats and kittens.

House of Mews founder Elain Harvey had contributed her own money to the center’s budget from its inception in 1994. But in 2010, Harvey was behind on her mortgage and planning to sell her home when Service Assurance CEO Mark Giannini contacted her after reading an article about Harvey’s decision.

Service Assurance stepped in to save House of Mews – a Cooper-Young mainstay that showcases adoptable cats in its storefront windows – by committing to provide needed repairs to the facility and agreeing to pay the House of Mews’ $1,000 rent for three years.

“The House of Mews will absolutely continue to be supported in just the same fashion,” Giannini said. “I went and told Elaine, ‘I’ve got to swear you to secrecy because we’ve not announced this, but I don’t want you to read about it in the paper.’ She and I talked prior to the press release going out.”

Konica Minolta has an office at 6991 Appling Farms Parkway and serves more than 1,000 local clients.

Giannini, whose company classifies itself as the largest regional technology support and managed IT services provider in the Mid-South, said the local branch of Konica Minolta provides many in-kind donations, including copiers, copier maintenance and the use of digital printing machines, to local nonprofits.

Konica Minolta acquired California-based All Covered in December 2010, and All Covered subsequently acquired six companies in 2011 – with Service Assurance being its latest, bringing All Covered offices to 23 cities nationwide.

“When we were approached by Konica Minolta and the IT Services Division called All Covered, and initially started talking, what was immediately noticeable was that our visions and values were almost an identical overlay,” Giannini said. “Very early on, they were very impressed with our community support, not only for House of Mews, but for Streets Ministries, Boys & Girls Club (of Greater Memphis), ArtsMemphis, Opera Memphis and all that stuff that we’re heavily involved in.”

Giannini said the business will stay in Memphis.

“While we won’t cohabitate with Konica Minolta, we anticipate being very close to each other in our physical spaces,” he said. “We’ll definitely go to market together. We’ll change our name to All Covered, and that will happen over a six-month period. It will first be Service Assurance as part of the All Covered Family. Then we’ll move to just All Covered as soon as we feel like the market has understood the transition.”

He said being part of a $12 billion company will enable Service Assurance/All Covered in Memphis to expand on its local philanthropic work.

“The acquisition by Konica Minolta is not only going to be great for our clients because it gives them way more services,” Giannini said. “But it’s going to be great for the community because we’re going to continue to drive our community focus even harder than we have in the past. We look forward to continuing to do what we can do to help drive the nonprofits in Memphis, which is a huge core value of Service Assurance and also a huge core value of Konica Minolta.”

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