It wasn’t that long ago Mike Altreuter recognized a growing customer need in the wide and grand format industry and decided to do something about it. With the rapid evolution of wide format print equipment, customers wanted to upgrade their equipment but before they could do that they had to sell their used equipment.
Altreuter was formally employed by Global Imaging, a Value Added Reseller also out of Colorado. “As a new equipment reseller we spent a good deal of time finding homes for used gear and we found it much more difficult and time consuming to sell the old machines than it was to sell the new ones. We grew to a point where it made sense to build what we thought would be a loss-leader company to facilitate the sales of new equipment,” Altreuter said. Thus was born Global Garage, the premier online marketplace for used wide and grand format equipment, parts and accessories. Mike and two other business partners started this new corporation in 2009 and it has been going gangbusters ever since.
Today with close to 300 customers in 37 states and 25 countries, and total sales of over $10 million in 2012, Global Garage has set the standard in the online marketplace for reselling parts, accessories and used equipment and has raised the bar in printhead cleaning services.
“The first 3 years were ones of explosive year over year growth in brokered equipment,” said Altreuter, President of Global Garage. “We added infrastructure and staffing to accommodate the growth and to handle all of the logistics planning surrounding the sales. In the last 2 years we have focused increasingly on our parts and printhead cleaning services while maintaining growth in our brokered equipment sales.”
Through the Parts Depot customers can find new, third party used and reconditioned parts for as much as 30-70% off new parts from manufacturers. “Quality used or reconditioned parts are in high demand and our user-friendly format makes it easy for customers to find what they need at a substantial savings off list pricing,” according to Altreuter. He added that about 40% of their business is international with Global Garage site visits from 130 countries worldwide.
But the fastest growing segment of the company has been the printhead cleaning services, which Altreuter attributes to word of mouth and repeat business. Printhead cleaning improves the print quality and lengthens the life of costly heads without having to replace them when clogged. “We offer guaranteed performance and the highest quality attention to detail in every phase of the process. Once our customers experience our services and see the results, they keep coming back,” he said.
Perhaps the true success of Global Garage is that it was founded on an increasingly growing market demand, and it met that demand with a customer based solution that offered economical efficiencies without sacrificing quality. “One of the key differences in our company is that we have our own dedicated personnel for marketing, accounting, logistics planning and technical resources. Starting with used equipment, then expanding to parts and now printhead cleaning, demonstrates how we have always approached our business from the customers’ perspective, helping them find solutions that will foster their growth and subsequently, ours,” Altreuter said.