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 user 2006-10-04 at 11:13:00 am Views: 66
  • #16717

    New Rapid Refill COO Sees Huge Growth Potential
    MN, OCT, 2006 — Big-name printer and copier makers say they don’t feel
    threatened by companies such as Rapid Refill Ink, the franchised
    retailer that specializes in the remanufacturing, refilling and sale of
    inkjet and laser toner cartridges to both consumers and businesses. But
    don’t tell that to Steve Hockett, the company’s new 45-year-old chief
    officer“Consumers vote with their wallets all the
    time,” Hockett said. “They will go wherever they believe they are
    getting good quality, convenience, service and pricing. The ink
    cartridge refilling industry is huge and growing dramatically. Rapid
    Refill Ink has the opportunity to establish itself as the leader in our
    industry with a commitment to those values.”Hockett recently joined
    Rapid Refill Ink after serving as president of FranChoice Inc., a
    company that matches prospective franchisees with franchisors. Prior to
    joining FranChoice, Hockett spent 15 years with Great Clips, the
    franchised hair salon brand where he was vice president of operations.
    Since it began franchising in 2004, Rapid Refill Ink has grown to 55
    locations throughout the United States with an additional 20 to 25
    stores expected to open by year’s end. Hockett expects Rapid Refill Ink
    to add 150 locations in 2007 and 250 in 2008. Having assumed many of
    the day-to-day responsibilities of Rapid Refill Ink president and
    founder Dan P. White, the aggressive growth strategy dovetails well
    with Hockett’s experience. During Hockett’s tenure at Great Clips, the
    franchisor grew from 200 to 1,700 salons. “I see a lot of parallels to
    Rapid Refill Ink,” Hockett said. “It’s a small-box, franchised retail
    concept that is customer-focused. It is also in an emerging sector of
    franchising in much the same way that hair care was 20 years ago.”
    According to The Wall Street Journal, 308 million remanufactured
    cartridges are expected to be sold in 2006. A typical Rapid Refill Ink
    store carries 1,100 different inkjet cartridges and 200 models of laser
    toner cartridges, with overall savings on remanufactured cartridges
    ranging between 30 and 70 percent. “There are no secrets in this
    business,” Hockett said. “It’s a matter of taking care of customers and
    solving their problems. A customer wants ink when they need ink. They
    don’t want it next week. They want it today. Rapid Refill Ink fills
    that need with its convenience, value, selection and service.”
    Franchisors such as Rapid Refill Ink are planning to make a dent in the
    revenue streams of larger tech companies who derive dependable revenue
    streams from the sales of ink and toner cartridges. According to
    figures cited by Lyra Research Inc., in a WSJ online story,
    “franchisors are ramping up sales at a rate of 10 percent a year,
    compared with growth for big tech companies along the lines of six
    percent a year.” “From an operating profit perspective, Hewlett-Packard
    has essentially become an ink company that builds hardware to deliver
    their ink,” Hockett said. “That is a pretty substantial change from the
    way things were 10 to 15 years ago.” The industry was abuzz recently
    when Hewlett-Packard accused another national reseller of refilling
    used printer cartridges with ink that relies on a formula for an
    HP-patented ink brand. It was not an official legal action, but HP
    asked the company to stop using inks with the same chemical composition
    as one of its patented brands.

    the action was seen as an attempt to crack down on the cartridge refill
    industry, Hockett said it posed no concern for Rapid Refill Ink.

    focus is on defending its patents, which makes a lot of sense,” Hockett
    said. “From Hewlett-Packard’s perspective, some concepts are getting
    too close to the line in regards to patents. The companies that will
    succeed are the ones who will stay away from infringing on any patents.
    That is Rapid Refill Ink’s plan.” Hockett said he views Rapid Refill
    Ink as a “strong and sound” company. He said he sees no need for
    dramatic changes. His short-term focus is to solidify the company’s
    marketing, real estate and operational support departments to support
    his long-term goal of aggressive growth. “We want to strengthen the
    areas that are necessary to develop a thriving retail concept while at
    the same time recruiting franchisees who are focused on helping us grow
    the Rapid Refill Ink network,” said Hockett, who added that the company
    is in the process of moving its headquarters from Springfield, Ore., to
    Minneapolis. Rapid Refill Ink will celebrate the third anniversary of
    its franchising program in January 2007. While the emerging cartridge
    refilling industry features a number of franchised competitors, Hockett
    said Rapid Refill Ink is well-positioned for growth. Says Hockett, “We
    have an opportunity to create a global brand name very quickly. The
    same printers we use here in the U.S. are used around the world, so
    this is a concept that can just explode across America and across the
    world. The demand is there, the need is real and we plan to build a
    system to deliver value driven printer ink solutions worldwide.
    Potential franchisees are attracted to Rapid Refill Ink because it has
    momentum and solid fundamentals in place. The market is huge and no one
    dominates it. The opportunity is there for two or three concepts to
    grow fast and become recognized brand names. Rapid Refill Ink will be
    one of those. We want to be the leader in the industry.