Business profile: Larry Buzzell

Posted: Monday, June 02, 2003

Title and company: Owner, B.E.P. Company

Services: The B.E.P. Company recycles inkjet cartridges for printers, copy and fax machines in Juneau.

"It makes reusable something that would be trash," Buzzell said. "It is the highest level of recycling there is."

Buzzell picks up toner cartridges from his customers and takes them to his home office, where he and his one employee, brother Tom Buzzell, refill the cartridge.

"It usually takes one work day," Buzzell said. "They call, I come pick up the cartridge, and the next day I bring it back."

Buzzell's customers include private residents, businesses and state offices.

"Anybody that has a computer has a printer, and anybody who has a printer is a potential customer," Buzzell said. Certain print cartridges are easier to refill than others, though.

"The worst printer manufacturer that does not support recycling is Lexmark," he said. "The most friendly company is Hewlett-Packard."

Recycling toner cartridges reduces pollution and saves Buzzell's customers money, he said, though the cost of the service depends on the type of cartridge being refilled.

"We use a specific toner for the cartridge we're working on, not a generic one," Buzzell said. The right toner will "make a cartridge print like it's supposed to. We make no compromises."

Buzzell guarantees any cartridge he's worked on with a no-time-limit, zero-defect warranty.

Biographical information: Buzzell was born in Michigan and lived in California and the Pacific Northwest before moving to Alaska 25 years ago. He served four years in the Air Force and received one year of training in electronics technology. After the Air Force, he worked for five years at salmon hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest.

While working at the hatcheries, Buzzell invented a system for separating dead salmon eggs from live ones. He called the invention the Buzzell Egg Picker, and formed the B.E.P. Company.

He first came to Alaska to market the Buzzell Egg Picker, and moved to Juneau when he visited and thought "this is the place where I want to live," he said.

He worked at the Eaglecrest Ski Area for a few seasons, then got a job teaching computer skills to students at Floyd Dryden Middle School. While there, he developed computer software to teach students to type. He began marketing the software, and changed the name of his business to Buzzell's Educational Programs.

When Buzzell went to work for a computer dealer in town and discovered how expensive toner cartridges are for laser printers, he decided to learn how to refill them himself. The third reincarnation of the B.E.P. Company - Buzzell's Economy Printing - was born.

Family: Buzzell's family in Juneau consists of his brother, Tom Buzzell.

Quotable: "I've been through a lot of different training ... and what they teach you if nothing else is to run your business like you would want someone to treat you," Buzzell said. "That's what I try to do - treat customers like I want to be treated."

Contact information: The B.E.P. Company can be reached at 789-2230.

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