Posted by Kirk Studebaker // VP of Sales on Jan 31, 2019 1:10:00 PM
Did you know that many copier dealers’ name begin with the letter “A” so they’d be first in the phone book and Yellow Pages? You remember the Yellow Pages, right? That way when someone looking for a new “copy machine” flipped the pages, they’d see names like “Advanced Copiers” or “All-in-One Copy” (I made those names up, FYI).
Searching online removes the alphabet from the equation. Instead of guessing and just calling the first company you see listed, you can look in more detail at what a company offers before you make a buying decision.
If you’re reading this, you need a new copier and/or printer. You’re also probably thinking “what do I need?” and “who can I trust?”
We recommend doing your due diligence.
Much like buying a car, often who you buy from makes a bigger difference than the vehicle you purchased. Are they easy to work with? Did they oversell you? Did you feel like you just bought from a used car dealer? Do they deliver the service they promised and you need?
We believe in educated customers. We’ve compiled a short list of the major players in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metropolitan region so you can do just that - educate yourself and feel good about you investment.
Here’s a list of companies to get you started. Some are Minneapolis homegrown, but have national aspirations (Marco); others remain local (Loffler, Metro); and a few are manufacturer-direct (Global).
Konica Minolta, local outlet, 8201 Norman Center Dr #200, Bloomington, MN (Corporate office is in Ramsey, NJ)
Much like Kodak, Konica Minolta’s origins date back to the photo industry. In 1873, Rokusaburo Sugiura began selling photographic materials in Tokyo. The company introduced Japan’s first plain paper copier in 1971. In 1983, the company introduced the world’s first copier with zoom magnification/reduction, the EP450Z.
Konica and Minolta merged in 2003 to create today’s company.
Quick Facts About Konica Minolta*
Introduced the first bizhub MFP in 2004 -- printing, copying, and scanning in a single machine
Purchases DocuSource and AMS Imaging to enter the enterprise content management space (ECM includes document management and workflow functionality)
Offices a complete range of color and black and white multifunction peripherals (MFP) under the bizhub line
Headquarters: 1101 East 78th Street, Suite 200, Bloomington, MN 55420
Founded in 1986 by Jim and Darcy Loffler, Loffler is a family-owned company with sales and service partnerships nationwide. Based in Bloomington, Loffler primarily serves the upper midwest (Minnesota and Western Wisconsin) and national accounts.
The business first started as Jim and Darcy selling dictation machines out of their garage. Today, Loffler has grown to provide copiers and printers, IT solutions (LofflerVision), managed print services, IP phones (Shoretel and NEC), software and workflow technology (Uniflow, eCopy, Worldox), and onsite managed services (copy center, mail room, scanning, litigation support, and more). They carry Canon, Océ, Konica Minolta, Xerox, Riso, HP, and Lexmark products.
Quick Facts About Loffler*
- 500 employees
- 86 full-time, specially trained local technicians who include technical analysts, certified manufacturer trainers, product segment supervisors, and service managers.
- 8 locations
- Average response time for equipment service is 2.6 hours
- Technicians carry mobile devices to manage calls and order parts
- Additional training provided at no cost
- More than $3 million in device parts stored locally
Headquarters: 4510 Heatherwood Road, St. Cloud, MN 56301
Formed in 1973 by two business partners, Gary Marsden and Dave Marquardt (whose last names inspired the "Mar" in Marco), Marco started out as a small typewriter shop in St. Cloud. Today Marco is a nationwide technology provider of hosted/cloud services, managed services, business IT services, carrier services, copiers/printers, phone systems, document management, and audio/video systems.
Marco serves clients throughout the Upper Midwest and nationally with offices in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Marco's corporate headquarters is located in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Marco carries Canon, Sharp, Konica Minolta, KIP, and HP traditional and wide-format products.
Quick Facts About Marco*
- Onsite service Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm
- Online portal to place service requests, order supplies, and check your account history
- 98% live call answer rate
- Resolve 97% of service issues remotely
- Use real-time GPS technology to determine which resource is closest to your location when on-site service is needed.
Headquarters: 1640 East 78th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55423
Creeping up on their 50th anniversary, Metro first started out in 1969 as a paper and toner supply company. Since their humble beginnings, Metro has grown the company, headquartered in Minneapolis, to now include eight additional locations throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.
Metro carries traditional office equipment (copiers, printers, scanners, fax machines, wide format, production printers), of which they exclusively sell Ricoh, but they also have a document services division dedicated to a variety of for-pay services geared towards architects, engineers, and construction markets.
They also tout specialization in managed print services and document management and imaging, including Papervision/ImageSilo, Integrated Cloud Environment (ICE) and GlobalScan NX.
Quick Facts About Metro*
- Five Service Managers with an average tenure of 22 years, 14 Field Supervisors with an average tenure of 16.6 years
- Average technician tenure of just over 10 years
- Technicians received an average of 110 hours of product training on 74 different products
- Three Service Trainers with an average tenure of 21 years
- Certified technical support via telephone or website
- 3-hour response for the Seven Country Metro
- 4-hour response for branch areas
- Guaranteed onsite arrival from the time you place your call or an average day’s copy volume will be yours for free
Toshiba America Business Solutions
2930 Waters Rd #190, Eagan, MN 55121 (Corporate HQ Lake Forest, CA)
Toshiba began in 1875 as a supplier of telegraphy equipment. Over time, the company expanded to semiconductors, IOT systems, storage, and, of course, copiers and related software and services.
Quick facts about Toshiba*
Toshiba offers financing through Toshiba Financial Services.
The company claims average cost reduction of 30% to 40% from fleet optimization and asset management via managed print services. The company will also manage non-Toshiba equipment.
Software solutions included workflow and document management.
Toshiba’s e-STUDIO copiers, printers, fax machines, and scanners are backed by Toshiba’s Quality Commitment guarantee
Many of the local copier dealers also sell and service Toshiba equipment.
Prior Ave N, St Paul, MN 55104 (Corporate HQ Norwalk, CT)
Xerox is, of course, synonymous with copiers. Much like “Kleenex” is a brand name that people use to say “tissue,” for decades “Xeroxing” and the “Xerox machine” meant “making copies” or “the copier.” Xerox introduced the first automatic, plain paper copier for the business world (the Xerox 914) on September 16, 1959. Since then, Xerox continues to be at the forefront of innovation in the copier (and other) industries.
Quick facts about Xerox*
Xerox focuses on green initiatives as a corporation. The company’s supplies recycling program (including a robust toner recycling program) has kept more than 145 million pounds of waste out of landfills over the past 20 years.
ConnectKey technology enables the use of various apps on many Xerox copiers, like scan to email for example.
AltaLink MFPs are certified by NIAP under Common Criteria, a security protection for hardcopy devices standard.
Xerox offers a managed print services solution.
Many of the local copier dealers also sell and service Xerox equipment.
Ready for Your Next Office Copier?
Once you’re ready to buy, don't forget these eight questions every buyer wishes they asked before they bought their office equipment:
- What is the company’s actual response time in your specific area?
- What kind of experience can I expect from the technician assigned to my area?
- Can the device be setup with remote monitoring for meter readings and preventative service calls?
- How does the company manage parts for the machine you are considering? Do they keep them in stock, or do the require a special order?
- What does the company consider “reasonable” in terms of equipment downtime?
- Will the company provide a service loaner free of charge if they can’t fix a machine in a “reasonable” amount of time?
- What kind of purchasing options does the company offer?
- Are leases handled internally or through a third-party leasing company?
Bottom line, brands, price, and website promises are really of little importance, the true measure of an equipment partner’s worth is the service they provide after you sign on the dotted line.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list. We hope (and think) that after seeing what’s out there, the Coordinated difference will be pretty clear. Regardless, we wish you success.
For additional ideas and resources, here are a few more questions and issues to consider as you look for your next copier (or entire fleet of copiers).
- When Your Service Partner Has Soul, They Care More
- 7 Questions You Need to Ask Your Next Managed Print Services Partner
*Quick Facts sourced from each dealer’s website.
Written by Kirk Studebaker // VP of Sales
Kirk has been in the Office Technology sector for 20 years working in the dealer world focused on supporting sales teams. Having worked for Manufacturers and dealers as well as his own entrepreneurial ventures, Kirk is dedicated to the development of people in the sales profession.
Outside of work Kirk has a wife and two children and enjoys being outside whether hunting or horseback riding.