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 user 2009-10-13 at 11:36:45 am Views: 37
  • #22659
    Veteran and teacher focuses on changing the ink ‘game’
    new ink cartridges can be more of a game than customers bargain for at
    times, said Larry Cummings, which is why his new family-owned business,
    The Ink Spot Refills, focuses on refilling used ink cartridges.”Many
    people never thought (about) refilling cartridges…the savings is
    really a great deal,” he said.A Korean War veteran and former teacher
    who holds a bachelors, masters and Ph.D. , Cummings approaches the ink
    business from an educational angle.Located in St. Clair Plaza, The Ink
    Spot Refills focuses on saving money and educating customers about the
    “game” some companies play when it comes to purchasing or refilling
    ink.Cummings said learning the game comes down to reading the fine
    print. “(People) don’t realize the hidden language on their cartridge
    boxes and materials with their printer.”

    According to Cummings,
    with some companies the fine print only allows the customer to purchase
    ink cartridges from the original manufacturer, leaving the customer at
    the mercy of manufacturer pricing. Cummings gets upset when “people are
    forced into that pattern,” he said.Cummings said there are special,
    legal exceptions to return, rebate and pre-bate approaches with some
    manufacturers-specifically Lexmark- when it comes to refilling
    cartridges. But the exception is never the rule, and these exceptions
    are difficult to find at times. “I do plan to carry a supply of the
    exceptional cartridge that can be refilled (at The Ink Spot as opposed
    to the original manufacturer), but they are very difficult to find,” he

    Understanding the game and staying ahead of the game go
    hand-in-hand for The Ink Spot Refills. “We try to stay 40 to 60 percent
    lower on our refills than the purchase price at (department stores),”
    he said. Most black cartridges can be refilled for $10.99 and color ink
    jet cartridges for $14.99.While The Ink Spot is geared toward refilling
    cartridges, the store does offer manufactured cartridges for a lower
    price than other businesses as well, Cummings said.Yet another avenue
    for saving money on ink is through schools and the county government,
    Cumming said. “There is such potential for great savings to the
    taxpayer and the school districts if they would refill cartridges
    instead of going out and buying new ones,” he said.

    When he gets
    the chance, Cummings tries to spend time outside of the store talking
    to schools and county government entities to explain the benefits of
    the refill process. According to Cummings, thousands of dollars -at
    least-could be trimmed from school and county budgets just by refilling
    ink cartridges.It helps that Cummings has spent 50 years of his life
    working within the school system, first as head basketball coach, high
    school teacher, federal bureau prison teacher, college professor,
    assistant professor, assistant dean, and finally, chairman of the
    department of criminal justice. Cummings retired from teaching two
    years ago after finding someone to fill his temporary position as chair
    of the Kent State Criminal Justice department.Cummings became
    interested in ink over the years after having to fill his own
    cartridges with a syringe. “(Around) eight years ago I inquired about a
    franchise with Island refills…but the costs were beyond me,” he said.

    in early 2009, Cummings returned to his interest in ink. After much
    research Cummings decided to form his own company, Cummings &
    Cummings LLC, and acquire the trade name The Ink Spot Refills for the
    state of Ohio. He and his son Gregory share the responsibility of
    running the store. Cummings’ wife and daughter are also included in
    Cummings & Cummings LLC.Running the business has been a learning
    experience for both him and his son. “It staggers my imagination when I
    think of the challenge of being able to fill all of the cartridges that
    exist out there in the ink jet area,” he said.It typically takes 30
    minutes to refill a cartridge at The Ink Spot Refills, although an hour
    is preferred, Cummings said. “We go through a very rigorous,
    step-by-step process of cleaning the heads with an atomizer and an
    ultrasound machine…we then centrifuge to get the old ink out of the
    cartridge and then fill the cartridge,” Cummings said. That process is
    then repeated and a test pattern is run. “We have 12 different printers
    in the back to test the cartridge,” he said.

    At the best of
    circumstances the process can be done in 15 minutes, but Cummings
    encourages customers to allow for more time for the best
    results.Customers with laser toner cartridges are urged to contact the
    store prior to when they need them, as it takes a few days for them to
    be ordered. The Ink Spot Refills does not refill laser toner
    cartridges, but does carry a supply of manufactured ones, and can order
    them for a customer if The Ink Spot Refills is not currently carrying
    the cartridge.