In a move that Koen Book Distributors president Bob Koen told PW "will definitely make things more profitable," the 30-year-old New Jersey distributor has realigned the operations of sister company, Koen Pacific Book Distributors, Tukwila, Wash. As part of the transition, Koen Pacific replaced its computerized inventory system with the one in use at Koen East and is merging accounting, sales and marketing functions in New Jersey. Former Pacific Pipeline president Vita Perillo has left the company; eight additional Koen Pacific employees have been laid off.

Koen Pacific opened just months after Pacific Pipeline liquidated, and it began shipping in June 1997. It hired many of Pacific Pipeline's staff and saved thousands of dollars by purchasing Pacific Pipeline's computer system from bankruptcy court. "It was quicker, to get Koen Pacific up and running, to use the Pacific Pipeline system," said Koen. "But it was always in the back of my mind to do it [merge the two]. It will cut expenses and be more efficient for national accounts."

According to Jim DiMiero, Koen's director of marketing, "It's been a natural progression since the time Bob and Pat Koen opened Koen Pacific that both would be on the same computer systems." As far as how the change will affect Koen Pacific's stock, DiMiero would say only, "We're in a 'wait and see.'" But, he noted, two buyers and an assistant buyer will remain on the West Coast.

To maintain close ties with West Coast accounts, Dawn Martin, former marketing coordinator at Koen Pacific, has been appointed Seattle rep. Call center hours in New Jersey have been extended to accommodate stores in the West. However, the warehouse operations will stay separate. "You really can't compete by shipping from here to the West Coast," noted Bob Koen.