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 user 2003-10-13 at 9:44:00 am Views: 107
  • #7702
    Independents Don’t copy Consolidation Tendency
    Relatively speaking, George Grover runs a large independent copier/printer/fax machine dealership.

    As for Lenexa-based Midwest Office Technology’s competitors, well, they might be giants.

    Manufacturers Xerox Corp., Toshiba Corp., Savin/Ricoh Corp. and Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. have muscled their way into town, buying up established dealerships and deploying throngs of feet on the street.

    “It’s really kind of a battle, I’ll tell you,” Grover said.

    Nearly everywhere you look these days, office equipment companies are finding merger partners or acquisition-hungry buyers. It has happened all the way from the top of the food chain (Konica and Minolta, Xerox and Fuji) to the bottom (Toshiba buying Hotz Business Solutions, Konica buying Alternative Business Systems LLC).

    Although some wonder how the independent dealers are going to survive this overhaul, the people who run these shops say there always will be a piece of the market for them.

    Count Robert Craig in that bunch. You won’t find KC Copiers Inc. of Lenexa on The Business Journal’s latest list of the Top 25 Area Office Equipment Companies.

    In a year, he’s down from seven employees to five — a salesman and four technicians. That knocks KC Copiers from the No. 22 spot a year ago.

    Craig might be down but says he’s not out. A glut of copy machines that bigger players never sold is being scooped up by the firm and sold for about half the cost.

    “We’re all in the same business, and we’re all looking at the same customers,” Craig said. “But some people buy used cars, and some people buy new cars. We have our niche.”

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