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 user 2005-05-28 at 11:48:00 am Views: 93
  • #9683

    Caboodle offers cheaper refills on toner

    FAIRFIELD – If you feel you pay as much for a refilled inkjet or laser
    printer cartridge as you do for a new printer, the owners of Caboodle Cartridge
    say they should be your next stop.

    “Printing is expensive and we are cheaper than the major stores,” said Rekha
    Patel, Caboodle Cartridge sales manager.

    Owner Ken Patel and Rekha Patel opened the Caboodle Cartridge store on Travis
    Boulevard Jan. 20. The store is a franchise of the Santa Clara-based

    They take pride in their ability to refill and resell cartridges for half the
    cost of original cartridges with an emphasis on getting the customer exactly the
    right ink for their needs.

    If things go well, the Patels plan to expand to four other locations – Davis,
    Concord, Santa Rosa and Citrus Heights – within the next three years.

    The couple was running the trinket and memorabilia store Aftershock in
    Westfield Shoppingtown Solano when they heard of Caboodle Cartridge and
    researched it on the Internet.

    “What appealed to us was that it was something that everyone needs,” Rekha
    Patel said.

    It was the quality of the cartridge refilling and replacement process that
    appealed to Ken Patel.

    “It is so efficient,” Ken Patel said.

    The company was started in Santa Clara in 2003 by the father-son team of
    Daniel and Chris Wencel, who decided to offer franchises last year.

    Instead of using a syringe to inject ink into cartridges while the customers
    wait, Caboodle ships the cartridges to the Santa Clara store.

    Once there, the cartridges are steam-cleaned first to ensure all the old ink
    is gone, electronically checked to ensure the cartridge works well, refilled
    using a vacuum method so there are no air bubbles and tested again.

    What the customer gets the moment they hand over their old cartridge is a
    repackaged cartridge that has undergone the treatment.

    The injection method is messy, causes clumps and bubbles in the ink, and
    degrades the quality of the injected ink because it is mixing with the remnants
    of the old ink, the Patels said.

    The store offers refills and replacements that are compatible with brands
    that include Hewlett-Packard, Epson, Canon, Lexmark, Brother, Samsung. Xerox,
    Sharp and Panasonic.

    They also buy empty cartridges to ensure they don’t end up in a landfill.

    Five months into their business, the Patels feel they have connected with the
    community with a customer base that is 60 percent small businesses and 40
    percent residents. A growing number of these are repeat customers.

    “We have business cards from all the businesses we work with,” Rekha Patel
    said, noting she refers customers to them for needs that range from real estate
    to landscaping.

    “Word of mouth is better than any advertising,” Rekha Patel said. “Every week
    gets better and better as more people find out about our business.”