HOW DID ALEX SHULTZ SAVE ISLAND INK-JET ?
HOW DID ALEX SHULTZ SAVE ISLAND INK-JET ?
2010-01-25 at 10:37:20 am #23291
HOW DID ALEX SHULTZ & ARMIN SACHSE SAVE ISLAND INK-JET ?
Island Ink-Jet Systems Inc. was a made-in-Canada success story with over 250 franchised “Island Ink-Jet” stores at their peak of operations. The franchise chain has generated over 100 million in sales and refilled over 9 million cartridges reducing the waste at our landfills. The brand was well established as the guys with the birds.
Their stores specialize in reducing the cost of printer consumables such as Printer Ink and Laser toner cartridges for home and business users.
The franchisor closed their doors on August 31, 2009 citing declining revenues as a contributing factor. Although the franchisor closed, the majority of their franchisees remain open.
The franchisor’s closing of the central support needed to operate the network caused havoc for many store owners. They were suddenly faced with having to find new suppliers and support mechanisms. Many faced a variety of issues and uncertainty relating to trademark rights, lease interests (held by the franchisor) and perhaps much more.
Normally when the franchisor fails, it takes down the rest of the chain. The quick action of two original franchisees to replicate all of the central support services enabled the chain to continue to operate with minimal interruption.
The franchisees Alex Schulz and Armin Sachse were one of the first franchisees of the system as well as the first area developers operating under the name of “The Equipment Leasing Company Ltd.(EQL). “When we started opening on-site retail refilling locations in early 2001,” recalls Armin Sachse CEO EQL. “there were no other similar chains in North America to copy. We had to build consumer awareness from scratch and at the same time we had to build the system. Our go-to-market strategy was soon copied by others and the retail on-site refill industry in North America was born.”
Within a few years they had developed over one third of all Canadian locations in the network. They used this experience and in a few short months have rescued the brand and reorganized the system into an Licensed Associate Program.
“When we received the 2008 financial statements of the franchisor in early 2009, “ reports Alex Schulz president EQL “we realized the franchisor was functionally insolvent.“ When the franchisor notified franchisees that they were closing their doors at the end of August 2009, the Associate Program was released allowing Island Ink-Jet franchise owners to migrate from a franchise to an Associate based operation.
“The final piece to the puzzle was to resolve the concern as to who owned the intellectual property rights and trademarks of the failed franchisor. EQL followed through with its legal action began in April 2009 and culminated in a December 2009 court judgment that gave EQL legal title and exclusive rights to all the intellectual property of Island Ink-Jet Systems Inc.” states Sachse working from his Courtenay, BC office.” “We were fortunate to be able to retain the key suppliers and build the required support systems so that the operators could continue to deliver a high quality, value-added service in a market efficient manner at an acceptable price”.
Many operators are experiencing increased same-store sales and are happy with the new Associate program in place. They are leveraging the Island Ink-Jet brand’s market leadership in the consumer refill market to make significant inroads into the B2B business market. Island Ink-Jet will be launching a new unique user friendly e-commerce site to enable Associates to offer the B2B market an “Easier” button to source toner and ink supplies.
About Island Ink-Jet: Island Ink-Jet is a specialty retail chain of Licensed Associates focused on being the convenient provider of choice for of a great assortment of National Brand printer and digital consumable products as well as the Island Ink-Jet on-site refill service, which both offer exceptional value. Island Ink-jet associates are committed to providing a level of customer service that exceeds what is found in large superstores today. Associates that are specialists, rather than generalists, set us apart from the competition.
Island Licensed Associates provide the consumer and small office/home office shopper a fast and efficient way to locate and purchase what they need, and be on their way quickly. Island ink-jet’s new unique user friendly e-commerce site will enable Associates to offer the B2B market an “Easier” button to source toner and ink supplies. By combining location, competitive price, product selection, store merchandising, and knowledgeable customer service, Island Ink-Jet has become the preferred provider of “green” printer consumable products.
The Equipment Leasing Company Ltd. 1855 Dundas Street East, Unit 5, Mississauga, ON, L4X 1M1, Phone 905-629-3210 Fax 905-629-3219