Shop Local: Rapid Refill Ink
Recycling rules the day at ink and toner store
Robb Bechtel leans on a sunflower seed counter, stands on a recycled milk carton
carpet, and smiles what surely is a recycled smile. Just kidding – although recycling is absolutely the law at Bechtel’s four-year-old business, Rapid Refill Ink, 818 SOM Center Road, Mayfield Village.
His shop specializes in recycled ink and toner cartridges priced to appeal to the
budget-minded shopper. “You can save up to 50 percent on recycled cartridges,” he said.
“Manufacturers make their money on ink and toners, not the printer. It’s the old razor blade theory: you give away the razor free, and sell the blades.”
He doesn’t just top off the ink on returned cartridges. The process is much more
involved because ink is specially formulated for each printer. And the cartridge is “a
complex electrical gizmo with hundreds of little nozzles that the ink goes through.”
In other words: a cartridge is more complicated than a fountain pen.
“We take the original cartridge, flush out the ink, clean the print head and check the
electronics before we refill the cartridge. Then we test print,” Bechtel said. Only then is the cartridge ready for sale.
He refills some cartridges himself, but sends others out to suppliers.
Bechtel opened his shop after a 30-year career as a manufacturer’s representative in the steel tubing business, the last 25 years living in Michigan. He and his wife, Karen, moved back home to Ohio to be close to family and friends.
The shop is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.