It’s a Whole New (Cartridge) World for La Verne Entrepreneurs

October 22, 2010
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Stephen and Susan

Stephen and Susan

During these crazy recessionary times, you hear all kinds of wild claims but what if someone were to walk up to you today and tell you that:

  • You could save 25% to 40% on your purchase of all ink and toner cartridges,
  • You could save an additional 10% on your printer cartridges if you’re an educator,
  • And you could prevent 3 and ½ pounds of solid waste from being deposited in a landfill every time you purchased a remanufactured cartridge.

You’d be all ears, right?

Well, Cartridge World, which was founded in Australia, has opened an independent CW franchise in La Verne because new owners Stephen Ciu and Susan Wang Ciu saw it as a good way to help customers save money, help relieve the planet of the more than 350 million cartridges that are dumped into landfills every year, and finally live their dream of being entrepreneurs running their own business in a town they love.

The married couple had considered opening a travel business or perhaps a Chinese restaurant – businesses they knew something about – but it was the ink and toner business that really caught their attention. Like everybody who uses a computer and a printer, they know how expensive it is to replace printer cartridges so when Susan went online investigating different franchises she was struck by the business model of Cartridge World, which has 1,700 worldwide franchises. Unlike other Southern California ink and toner dealers that import replacement stock from overseas and then repackage and rebrand it under a generic label, Cartridge World franchises, including the one in La Verne, refill ink and toner cartridges on sight. If you want new ink for HP color cartridge, you get HP ink – not a substitute. All Cartridge World products are 100% guaranteed and undergo a 12-step production process before sale.

After reading up more on Cartridge World, Stephen, Susan and their two children, Matthew and Amber, who attend Bonita and Roynon, respectively, drove to Emeryville, Calif., for intense training at Cartridge World camp, where they learned CW’s technical and marketing principles as well as the company’s philosophy and mission so they could open their La Verne franchise.

Having been open just a couple of days now, Susan already calls their eco-friendly business a “dream come true.” While her husband Stephen is entering data into their point of purchase system so the sales staff can call up the make, model and serial number of any ink or toner cartridge on the market, Susan and her general manager Robert Bilick have begun visiting schools and other nonprofits to share information on how they can reduce their ink and toner bills. Cartridge World also has a great philanthropic program to help PTAs and other nonprofits with their fundraising. By collecting empty printer cartridges and returning them to their La Verne Cartridge World, they can quickly earn funds to help support their programs.

“Through our recycle rewards program, we write them a check,” Susan said.

It’s hard to think that none of these programs would have been available had not Stephen and Susan met in their native Shanghai a long time ago. When Susan’s mother was injured riding a bicycle, one of her students, Stephen, came to visit her. “Teachers are revered in China,” Susan said. Years later, Stephen still wrote letters to his former teacher, and after many years had passed, Susan’s mother told her that this particular letter writer would make a good marriage catch.

Now Stephen and Susan are helping others print not only letters, but also documents, flyers, posters, brochures and a host of other materials with low-cost printer cartridges that are also eco-friendly.

“It takes up to 450 years for one laser cartridge thrown into a landfill to decompose,” Susan said. “Not to mention, it takes three and a half quarts of oil to produce a new one.

“By working with Cartridge World, people can reverse this horrible cycle,” she added. “They can save money, they can save time, and they can help save our environment.”

Cartridge World in La Verne is located at 2400 Foothill Blvd., Suite D, in the Target Shopping Center. For more information, please call (909) 596-0700.

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