"- Mohamed Khalil Daouk S.A.L. is a fourth generation family-owned paper company. We operate with traditional values, yet with an unrelenting, innovative spirit.
We’ve seen the industry evolve first-hand. Throughout this, our family has been unwavering in always putting the customer first with the care of its resources and fostering relations with suppliers."
The Founder’s Era
Mohamed Khalil Daouk S.A.L. originated as a small stationery store in the city of Beirut. At that time the city was small and most of the inhabitants were illiterate. The city’s inhabitants relied on the city scribes to read and write letters, draft legal documents, and serve their community with any other literary needs which arose. This began to change rapidly in the later part of the 19th century. Several educational establishments were founded and they were in need of textbooks.
Mohammed Khalil Daouk began to work with area printers in order to meet these demands. He began to print textbooks, religious works, pamphlets, newspapers, and the Ottoman Imperial Press. He quickly realized the Lebanese market needed diversity within the paper market and he began to import several grades of paper which at that time were not available in Lebanon. He imported grades such as: carbon paper, newsprint, textbook paper, and bookbinding boards. Under his expertise and guidance the paper and printing industry in Lebanon flourished and it became a specialized industry of its own. Shortly thereafter printers from other countries within the region began to depend on his expertise and the printing industry in places such as Tripoli, Damascus, Aleppo, and Cairo began to rapidly expand.
Mohammed Khalil Daouk was also a philanthropist who often assisted the people of his community. He often printed educational materials for schools free of charge, set up scholarships to help students of less affluent families attend school, and he assisted several small printers after the devastation caused by the Great War. He would even help his own clients when the need arose. He taught his sons the importance of treating our clients as friends and being active within our community. This tradition is still continued today.
In 1930 Mohammed Khalil Daouk was formerly recognized by the government as a commercial firm within the Beirut government registry. It was given the number 30, which is a testament to the fact that it was one of the pioneering establishments in Beirut; a number which they still proudly operate by to this day. In order to expand their business operations Mohammed Khalil Daouk moved from their original location on Bazirkan Street in the city center to Bab Idriss. The founder’s sons Khalil, Zaki, Soubhi, Arif, and Naji joined their father in managing their new paper empire.
While each family member contributed to the business it was Zaki who was best suited to become the new business head. Like his father he was adept at sourcing new market developments, color printing, meeting the increasing supply demand and ensuring that their business practices were modernized. With the help of the Daouk family book printing, education and journalism in Lebanon thrived.
In 1943 after Lebanon became an independent state the Daouk Establishment restructured its business model and named Zaki as the owner of the firm. Shortly thereafter Zaki’s sons Nabih and Afif joined their father to continue the family business.
After Lebanon established independence it experienced a multitude of intellectual activity. The printing industry was paramount within this time due to the fact that Lebanon became the hub for book printing within the Arabic speaking world; textbooks were particularly in demand. Printers in Syria, Aleppo, and Damascus relied heavily upon the Daouk Establishment to supply their printers with paper in addition to the flurry of local activity from the area’s book printers. In response to the rapidly increasing demands the Daouk firm began to seek out a variety of imported paper and board.
MKD began to establish relationships with mills in Sweden, Finland, France and Austria. These longstanding relationships still continue today.
In 1971, after Mohammad Khalil Daouk had established itself firmly as the main supplier for paper and board, Zaki Daouk retired and left the firm within the hands of his son Nabih Daouk. Difficulties arose in 1975 when a civil war began and made distribution more difficult. The facility was once again moved to Sanayeh and MKD was once again able to operate with the efficiency that its clients have come to depend upon. Nabih renovated the company’s computerized methods and expanded storage capacity. Despite the war printing demand was higher than ever before. Thanks to the hard work of the Daouk firm’s employees and constant innovation the Daouk firm continues to supply the market, regardless of any obstacles.
The Current Generation
Zaki joined his father, Nabih in 1985. They quickly realized that the US paper markets lacked the diversity which many of their other markets possess. After several months of extensive research, Nashville was chosen to become the new headquarters of the American branch of the firm that was later named MKD International, Inc. It was officially incorporated in the summer of 1988, shortly after Zaki was joined by his brother Nazih. Nabih’s third son Kamel, who was key to securing the MKD financial position, joined a few years later.
At that time the American mills had a monopoly on the paper market. MKD International, Inc. was the first firm to introduce European and Asian grades into the market. Despite the difficulties faced MKD International, Inc. has grown into one of the most successful privately owned paper merchants in the United States. With a wide range of suppliers, long standing vendor relationships, specialized service, and multiple locations our company has gained an exclusive customer base.
"In 2010, Mohammed Khalil Daouk, SAL celebrated their 125th anniversary thanks to the continuous innovation and hard work of the Daouk family."
- directly cited from "Mohamed Khalil Daouk S.A.L."