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 user 2008-01-17 at 11:40:00 am Views: 36
  • #19019

    ink chain adds outlets
    MI/LIVONIA — InkStop plans to keep growing in the Detroit area this
    year, adding five new locations to the 17 already open.

    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?”