For decades Milner has assisted businesses to improve efficiency and productivity, streamline operations, and stay competitive. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Milner has built on its foundation to grow into one of the largest and most trusted companies in our industry.
Today, Milner is a leader in managed IT services, managed print services, speech recognition and digital dictation, and more. Milner is at the forefront of the latest technologies, and we have a deep commitment to helping our customers. But we actually have a vibrant history that goes back 86 years, here's our story.
In 1934, Nashville brothers, Hicks, Sartain, and Thomas Lanier were fascinated with Thomas Edison’s Ediphone, a new dictation machine, and they started The Lanier Company. They produced their own dictation machines in addition to business forms.
The business grew throughout the region and thrived, but they had to come to a halt when the components needed for the dictation machine were taken over by the military when World War II threw the world into uncertainty and turmoil. The Lanier brothers began searching for a different business.
It was then that they learned about the men and boy’s clothing company, Oxford of Atlanta. In 1942, they purchased a stake in Oxford and established themselves in Atlanta. With their involvement, the company expanded, and in 1944, the Lanier brothers became the sole owners of Oxford.
Sadly, in 1962, Thomas Lanier was killed in a plane crash, leaving Sartain in charge of Oxford of Atlanta. Hicks Lanier, returned to The Lanier Company and dictation machines.
In 1947, the Lanier Company introduced plastic discs that would replace the bulky wax cylinders previously used as the recording medium. In 1955, they entered the new copier field, becoming a distributor for 3M and its thermofax copiers.
With the thermofax copier, an original was covered with thermofax paper and placed under a glass contact frame. When it was exposed to light, the light was then absorbed by black images on the original. The heat then created a copy on the thermofax paper. Although these copiers were certainly not advanced by today’s standards, they revolutionized the office.
Gene Milner started in the business in 1953 and later married into the Lanier family. When he took over as president of the Lanier Company in 1965, he then led the company to become nationally known. It continued to grow in the 1970s and 1980s, and in 1986, the Lanier Company bought 3M’s worldwide copier distributor.
Gene Milner retired as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Lanier Worldwide in 1987, but he bought the Atlanta and South Florida sales division, and Milner, Inc. was born. Soon, Gene would pass the business on to his sons, with his son, Dusty Milner, taking over the copier business and other son, Hicks L. Milner, taking charge of dictation, voice, and data.
Throughout the years, Milner has continued to grow. In 1989, they acquired a microfiche dealer, Records Management. 1994 saw the acquisition of software development company, ComSquared. And in 2003, they acquired a dealership in Raleigh, North Carolina called Cavin’s. Additionally, they bought several small dealerships in metro Atlanta in 2008.
In 2011, Milner Document Products and Milner Voice and Data were merged together under the same roof. Milner continued to expand throughout the 2010s, opening a new office in Tampa, Florida in 2014 and acquiring a large part of Ricoh’s Direct Sales business customers throughout the Southeast.
On April 27, 2021, Milner will celebrate 34 years of service as one of the largest independent dealerships in America. The story of how Milner came to be what it is today is a truly inspiring American success story. Throughout the years, Milner hasn’t lost sight of its main mission: providing high-quality, reliable service to our clients.