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November 29, 2007, 02:03 PM
Amusing story about the start of a biz.


"All I wanted was a little bit of black dust for one of our monastery printers. In my search for a toner cartridge, I was suddenly struck with how incredibly expensive this black dust and a few squirts of ink were. "There must be a better way," I said to myself.And so began my foray into the world of imaging supplies. What I discovered was a revelation. Simply stated, the mark-up on ink supplies is sinfully high, reaching in some instances into the 1,000-2,000 % levels. I also discovered that there were many companies that manufactured either new compatible cartridges or remanufactured cartridges at a fraction of the cost of the big name brands. My thoughts starting racing. Imagine the money we could save schools, churches, and other organizations if we could negotiate some deals with the manufacturers directly and cut out the middlemen.

LaserMonks.com was born.

Our monastery is part of the 900-year-old Cistercian Order; our particular Abbey was founded over 75 years ago in the United States. Every monastery has a monk in charge of all the temporal needs and activities of the community. Among my duties as Steward of Temporal Affairs are developing and managing ways to support our life and charities.Contrary to popular understanding, monasteries are self-supporting. A part of our day is given to some sort of remunerative work, from which we support our modest living needs in the monastery, and then use the rest for charitable work. Our Abbey was at this time looking into various new income projects, which had ranged from growing ****ake mushrooms, raising Christmas trees, to building a golf course and conference center.An income project that was based on a necessary consumable item, like toner and ink cartridges, was exactly what the monastery needed - a solid, consistent, income that would not be affected by difficult economic times. Everyone has to have toner and ink to print, businesses especially. And everyone wants to save money. Add to this the fact that we use the money for good works and to support monks who dedicate their lives to serving God and neighbor, and you have the ultimate win-win situation.The manufacturers were elated with the possibilities. They immediately said we should market not only to schools, churches, and other non-profits, but especially to businesses. "Look, you're monks. You have an image and long tradition of being trustworthy and providing top quality products. You're offering a great product at a great price. Once people hear about you, it's an easy decision. Why would anyone pay more money, when they can have quality products for less, from monks who use the income to help others?"

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