FROM MORTGAGE BROKER TO 2nd CARTRIDGE-WORLD STORE

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FROM MORTGAGE BROKER TO 2nd CARTRIDGE-WORLD STORE

 user 2009-07-10 at 11:58:21 am Views: 53
  • #22292

    http://www.ridgecrestca.com/news/business/x931225972/Specialization-secret-to-niche-stores-success
    FROM  MORTGAGE BROKER TO 2nd CARTRIDGE-WORLD STORE 
    Bob Opperman’s jump from home mortgages to toner cartridges has translated to success in a recession.Opperman opened his first Cartridge World store in December 2005 on State Street in Rockford. He opened a second store in March 2007 near the fast-growing retail corridor of Illinois 173 in Machesney Park.He researched dozens of franchise opportunities and decided on Cartridge World for two reasons: People are recycling more, and they want to save money. But there’s another secret to his success: Niche retailers are among the few showing positive earnings in a faltering economy.“Businesses that we’ve talked to in the past year are seeing the value of what we’re offering,” Opperman said. “They can cut expenditures and save money without hurting people or product.”Opperman said Cartridge World initially catered to about 80 percent walk-in customers. Now, that split has shifted to about 65 percent business customers and 35 percent walk-in business.

    And because Cartridge World refills cartridges so they can be used three or four times, customers can save up to 40 percent on printing costs.Batteries Plus, another niche player with stores in Rockford and Loves Park, has been moving plenty of product lately, ever since the market for mobile devices like cell phones, laptops and digital cameras has exploded.“We don’t have tremendous peaks and valleys. People can delay (buying batteries) but can’t avoid it,” said John Twist, vice president of franchise and business development for Batteries Plus. “When discretionary income is strong, people buy more devices, and they still need batteries. When times are difficult and people are holding onto their current device longer, they need batteries.”Twist said the retail side of the business has grown more than the commercial market lately, with the overall business split at 60 percent retail and 40 percent business-to-business.

    Opperman said his sales were up about 8 percent at the end of June compared with the same time last year. The trend is being recognized nationally because businesses and consumers are trying to make their products last as long as possible, according to the National Retail Federation, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association.Offering to pick up old cartridges or batteries, or establishing a recycling outlet on site, keeps customers involved and coming back, noted Dan Butler, vice president of merchandising and retail operations for the group.“The reality is, most retailers are looking at whether they can reuse, recycle or repurpose any product or service to reduce or minimize the impact on the environment,” he said.