Capital Business Machines Welcomes a Wave of Change with New Owners Casey and Derek Lowe

Thurston County is filled with many wonderful businesses that have been centerpieces of our community for decades. Capital Business Machines (CBM) was started back in 1952 by Bill Hartman and has been run by the family for nearly 70 years. Recently the Hartmans decided it was time to transition ownership to a new family and sold the company to longtime employees Casey and Derek Lowe last fall.

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From left: Dean Hartman, Derek Lowe, Casey Lowe, Don Hartman. The previous owners Don and Dean Hartman were the grandchildren of the original owner. Photo credit: Randy Springer

The two brothers have worked at CBM for more than 45 years collectively and want to continue the Hartman legacy. “We feel humbled and proud,” Casey shares, “and want to continue to grow their mission and vision in the community.”

The last year has proved challenging for businesses due to the pandemic. As a result, Casey began looking for ways to help. “I always want to be part of the solution,” he says. “Early on I was asking myself, ‘How can I help get kids back in school, keep teachers safe, and help small business owners?’” It seemed like an overwhelming task, but after some research, Casey discovered some amazing ways to help these core members of our community.

Helping Kids Get Back to the Classroom During COVID

For kids and faculty to return to school safely, methods were needed to be sure no one was coming in sick. The quickest way to determine this is through a temperature screening, which can be time consuming with handheld devices. Casey secured devices that could scan student temperatures at a distance, which is safer and more effective. “Our device is great because it can scan someone in one second from three feet away,” Casey explains. “As they walk in, there is a mark on the floor where they stand, they get scanned, and it tells them what their temperature is.”

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Casey has been proud to offer UVC disinfecting light units to Thurston County’s local businesses, schools, and organizations. It uses a 16,000 watt bulb and can run for hours without issue. Photo credit: Derek Lowe

Casey was originally looking at this option for his own workplace to keep his staff safe, but he realized it could be a great solution for schools and businesses. He offered the product to North Thurston School District, which immediately requested 43 of them to place in their schools upon reopening. “Now we have placed 1,000 units in the community,” Casey shares. After learning about their needs and seeing how valuable this technology was, Casey continued to look for other ways to help bring kids back to school safely.

He stumbled upon a YouTube video about a UV-C light disinfecting unit. The technology is used in hospitals to disinfect operating rooms and it is fast, efficient and environmentally friendly. The unit use UV-C lights to disinfect spaces up to 3,400 square feet. “It kills 99.99% of all viruses, bacteria, mold and even bedbugs and lice in minutes,” Casey says. The technology is invaluable during a time when sanitizing is of the utmost importance, so he knew he had to find a way to bring it to our community.

After discovering the top manufacturer, Capital Business Machines became the first and only retailer on the west coast for UV-C light medical-grade disinfecting units. They have the safest and highest performing product tested to date by Bioscience Laboratories inc., and it is EPA and FDA GLP-compliant. “It’s the right technology for the right time,” Casey shares. “And with federal funding under the CARES Act and ESSER 1 &2, businesses and organizations can get these units instead of a bunch of hand sanitizer, electrostatic sprayers and bleach.” It takes only 7 minutes to disinfect a 1,000 square feet.

These initiatives have been hugely impactful for schools and businesses across Thurston County.

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From left: Casey Lowe, Tommy Lowe, Derek Lowe in Kodiak, Alaska. The Lowe brothers are so honored to have the chance to help their local community. Photo courtesy: Casey Lowe

“Copiers are still our bread and butter, but these new products allow us to do even more to help the community,” Casey shares. “It’s been amazing to implement changes that are really helping people.”

As the staff venture out and about, they are often stopped and thanked for their service. Community feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which makes the job all that much more rewarding.

For more information on CBM products and services, visit the Capital Business Machines website.

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