Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Think Ink

This franchisee is making his mark with a printer cartridge shop.

This story appears in the April 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A store selling cartridges and refills may not seem like a favorite shopping destination, but as the world becomes more dependent on technology, a printer cartridge shop is becoming the place to be. Not only are customers attracted to the idea of recycling ink cartridges to save the environment, but they also like cutting costs.

For Cartridge World franchisee Al Steigerwalt, the opportunity to participate in this industry has been a golden one--and one he has been excited about ever since purchasing his franchise in October 2003. "We're catching the beginning of the trend," he explains. "I see people continuing to print for a long time, and, as changes, how we help to refill cartridges will also evolve."

But Steigerwalt, 53, does more than just meet a demand. This former CFO has made his Columbus, location appealing by creating a friendly atmosphere. Two 3-foot-high bobble-heads, one of the Ohio State University (OSU) mascot, Brutus Buckeye, and the other of legend Woody Hayes, stand in the entrance, making OSU fans feel right at home. And customers with sweet tooths can find a jar of lollipops at the counter, a tradition Steigerwalt adopted during his training at the original store in Adelaide, Australia.

In July 2004, Steigerwalt opened his second store and projects 2005 combined sales to reach between $400,000 and $500,000. These days, both Steigerwalt and his customers leave the store happy. "It's given me a lot of satisfaction," he says. "And I'm having a blast doing it."

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks