INKSTOP.COM OPERATES 109 STORE NAT’L

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INKSTOP.COM OPERATES 109 STORE NAT’L

 user 2008-01-17 at 11:38:00 am Views: 54
  • #19199

    ink chain adds outlets
    Detroit MI/LIVONIA — InkStop plans to keep growing in the Detroit area this year, adding five new locations to the 17 already open.
    The Ohio-based chain fills a niche for people who need ink and toner for printers but don’t want to traverse to a superstore, said George Seitzinger, vice president of marketing for InkStop.”Consumables is typically a frustrating purchase for most consumers,” Seitzinger said. “There are hundreds of different ink cartridges, and most people come in with an old ink cartridge and say ‘I need one of these.’”Retailers in the United States sold $3.2 billion worth of ink jet cartridges and $1.3 billion worth of laser toner between January and November of last year, according to the NPD Group.

    The company’s cofounders came from the office superstore arena and saw a need for smaller stores, so the typical InkStop averages about 1,100 square feet with four to five employees and can be found in strip centers with nearby parking, Seitzinger said.”We wanted to create a retail outlet that is convenient with people who know what they are talking about,” Seitzinger said.The first InkStop, opened January 2006 in suburban Cleveland, didn’t carry printers or cameras, but customer demand compelled the company to add those items along with memory cards, flash drives, routers, navigation devices, MP3 players and accessories, he said.The chain operates 109 stores nationally, with plans to increase that number to more than 120 by the end of January. An additional 125 stores are planned by January 2009, including the five set for Southeast Michigan.InkStop has no plans to franchise, because it wants the consistency of corporate ownership, Seitzinger said.”Nationally, our goal is to be 400-500 in the next three to five years,” Seitzinger said.The chain works well in a shopping plaza environment, according to J. Miles McFee, a vice president at Schostak Brothers & Co., a Livonia-based commercial real estate firm that added InkStop to its Wonderland Village development in Livonia.”They are perfect for strip retail,” McFee said. “There’s a niche in retail for that kind of store with people trying to keep costs down in terms of refills.”Opening 17 stores in the Detroit area also could convince other retailers to re-examine Southeast Michigan.”It’s a positive thing to see a company invest in the Detroit market given the state of the economy,” McFee said.InkStop will monitor Michigan store performance before deciding on further expansion, Seitzinger said.”As a start-up, we get to learn as we go along,” he said. “We’re not sure how many Detroit can hold. How close can you put them and still have them work?”