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Blackford Capital invests in Cartridge World

January 6, 2020

The national private equity firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, announced its investment in the US business of Cartridge World.

Blackford has completed an investment in the Cartridge World brand through the purchase of the brand licensing rights covering the United States territory. Headquartered in McHenry, Illinois, the Cartridge World’s US business operates nearly 230 franchised retail store locations.

In its early days, Cartridge World was selected as the top franchiser in the United States for three years in a row: 2007, 2008, and 2009.  Internationally, the brand has locations in 70 different countries across the globe. 

The Cartridge World regional segment acquired in this transaction oversees a network of master franchisees in the US territory, which Blackford stated, provides it with a significant opportunity to enhance its US-based supply chain and distribution relationships. Blackford said it intends to help franchisees grow their respective businesses by capitalising on certain business model changes and taking advantage of key industry trends, such as bundling hardware and supplies, establishing longer-term contracts with customers, and focusing on the small and home office markets.

“Blackford and its operating partners bring a tremendous amount of industry experience to the table in addition to their strategic, financial, and operational experience,” said Mark Pinner, CEO of Cartridge World North America. “We are excited to partner with Blackford and benefit from the firm’s 20-plus years of industry experience; they will serve as an extremely valuable resource to both Cartridge World and our franchisee network. The firm will help facilitate supply chain improvements critical to our refocused, service-oriented business model, as we continue to develop and grow our network and product options to the ultimate benefit of our customers and franchise owners.”

Cartridge World represents Blackford’s latest platform investment. Blackford invests in lower-middle market manufacturing, distribution and service companies throughout the United States. Blackford Capital current roster includes eleven other active portfolio companies. The firm’s previous investments and strategic leadership include Online Tech Stores, Quality Imaging Products, Rhinotek and Bond Street.

“The Cartridge World story is remarkable, expanding its reputation as the world’s largest ink and toner retailer to provide full-service print solutions with a continued focus on customer service, and we are excited by the opportunity to further our leadership platform within the imaging supplies space,” said Martin Stein, Founder and Managing Director of Blackford Capital. “The company has settled into a highly profitable niche segment of the market, and Cartridge World’s wealth of resources and ability to profitably service home, small, mid-size and enterprise without the dependency of expensive hardware, will undoubtedly serve as a catalyst for industry disruption. We see opportunities to leverage these scalable strengths while continuing to grow the business and are confident in Mark’s ability as a seasoned industry veteran to execute on this vision for the brand.”

Debt financing was provided by Small Business Community Capital.

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