*NEWS*FILL ER UP !
*NEWS*FILL ER UP !
2005-10-21 at 11:47:00 am #14129
Fill ‘er up!
refilled ink-cartridge franchises growing
Eric Heineken opened the first franchise store in Fairfield County that
refills printer ink for computers, faxes and copiers at a significant
discount, he says, the only thing that has surprised him is the number
of customers who walk through the door.
“I’ve had more business than
I expected right off the bat,” he said. “We’ve had a surprising amount
of interest from business customers.”
Heineken, who opened his
1,800-square-foot store in Monroe on Aug. 8, sets his prices at 50
percent of those at Staples for inkjet cartridges and at about 70
percent for laser toner. The two Cartridge World franchisees in
Westchester County, N.Y., do the same.
The newly franchised industry
is just beginning to open in the New York area ’Äì’Äì’Äì small shops
that refill inkjet cartridges at roughly the same rates that Heineken
does. The stores have been opening up all over the country in the past
few years, starting on the West Coast and heading east.
refill shops, usually less than 2,000 square feet in size, offer to
take used cartridges and in some cases fill them up with new ink while
you wait or while you shop. Otherwise, they can give you a discount for
your returned cartridge and immediately sell you another used one
Heineken said he researched a number of franchise opportunities before settling on a Cartridge World ink refill shop.
He thought seriously about an ice cream shop, but the ink refill idea surpassed that idea, he said.
isn’t a ton of competition, there’s a good profit margin and there are
quality-of-life issues,” he said. “The hours are 9 to 6, Monday through
Friday and 9 to 2 on Saturdays. Ice cream has two shifts a day, seven
days a week.”
Although Heineken may be the first franchisee in the
industry in Fairfield County, a Norwalk company, National Toner
Recycling and Supply, which does not operate from storefronts, has been
in existence since the mid-1970s.
Cartridge World, founded in
Australia in 1997, opened its first U.S. franchise in January 2003. Now
more than 240 locations are open across the country, with another 175
under construction. The company has 940 locations worldwide.
Research Inc., a Newtonville, Mass., company that conducts market
research in the digital imaging industries, estimates big growth in
what it calls the “after-market” industry in ink cartridges ’Äì’Äì
companies that refill the cartridges, manufacture cartridges compatable
with existing printers, or break down used cartridges into their parts
and remanufacture them.