A community-minded entrepreneur - East Valley Tribune: Business

A community-minded entrepreneur

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Posted: Sunday, December 4, 2005 5:48 am | Updated: 8:28 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Charyle "Char" Calvert loves nature.

As a child, she participated in all sorts of recycling programs to save the environment.

As an adult, she continues to recycle and, when she’s not working at her store in Chandler, she’s camping, hiking and taking photographs of the Great Outdoors.

The combination — determined environmentalist and successful business entrepreneur — very closely describes the owner of Cartridge World in Chandler.

Ask her mom, Darline Calvert, who works at her daughter’s store at 3029 N. Alma School Road.

"Even as a little girl, Char was always very worried about protecting the environment," her mother said.

Her concerns about nature continue today, for example, through a program Calvert initiated through her relatively new company called Kartridges 4 K-9's.

"So far we’ve raised enough money to buy vests for three police dogs," Calvert said.

The program works this way:

Customers who are ready to throw their old printer cartridges away are encouraged to drop them in one of several bins Calvert has set up near her store in the Paseo del Oro shopping center and at various schools and police stations.

For each inkjet cartridge, she contributes $1 and $3 for each recycled laserjet cartridge. Donated printers will bring $5.

The money is used to purchase protective vests for police dogs that cost as much as $600 each.

"Through Kartridges 4 K-9's, we’ve been able to give back to the community and protect the environment simultaneously," said Calvert, who noted that inkjet and laserjet cartridges tossed in a dump would take an estimated 400 years to disintegrate.

The program is an example of how her community involvement has helped the company grow since it opened less than two years ago.

Cartridge World Chandler was the 10th franchise to open in the United States and the first in Arizona. Its mother company is headquartered in Australia, where Calvert spent two weeks learning how to operate the business.

Today, there are more than 1,000 franchises in the United States, including 17 in Arizona and about 2,000 internationally, making it the largest retailer of printer cartridge refilling services in the world.

Cartridge World, basically, refills inkjet and laserjet cartridges and offers other copy machine services, including selling repaired and new printers..

"Many people have a computer for their business and/or home. Computers need printers and printers need cartridges, which run out of ink or toner on a regular basis."

The Chandler store’s business has grown about 75 percent each year since it opened with an initial investment of more than $100,000, Calvert said:

"We broke even after the first nine months, and we’re steadily doing more and more business," she said. "In five years, we hope to open four more stores in the Valley."

At first, most of her customers were walk-ins carrying empty or unusable cartridges from their copying machines at home. Today, about 60 percent are home users and 40 percent are businesses.

Jerry Holland of Sun Lakes was among her first customers. He needed help with three printers at his home that weren’t working properly.

"She not only refilled the cartridges, but she came out to my home to help me set up my printers," said Holland. "She was not only prompt, but very professional."

Charyle "Char" Calvert

Resides in: Mesa

Business: Owner of Cartridge World Chandler, 3029 N. Alma School Road, Suite 121 A

Key achievement: In two years, turned a cartridge inkjet and laserjet business into a profitable enterprise, so much so that she plans to open four more stores in the next five years in the Valley

Information: (480) 756-8615 or e-mail at ccfxink@wydebeam.com

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