Willie Tart is not the type of man who likes to sit still. And thanks to the steady growth of his small business, Cartridge Corner Plus Electronic Service Center, he is finding himself on the move more than ever.
“Right now, we’re doing all we can to keep up with (demand),” Tart said.
Today, Cartridge Corner Plus offers a wide variety of services. Tart and his crew of three employees repair televisions, copiers and printers. They dabble in computer repair. And they still sell and refill consumable supplies for printers and copiers, which is the service the business was built on.
Tart was in the Army for 23 years before he retired in 2005. He worked in aviation, specializing in aircraft electronics. As his retirement approached, he was on the lookout for a business to invest in. He read about the cartridge business and believed there was room for one in Killeen.
“I was looking around for business opportunities, and the cartridge business struck me as something that wasn’t going on in this area, but was successful in other cities,” Tart said.
Tart networked with cartridge businesses in nearby cities and got the training he needed to launch his business.
For the first eight months he was still on active duty, so he ran the business out of his garage part time. When he retired, he opened a kiosk at the Clear Creek Main Exchange at Fort Hood. He opened his store’s first location on W.S. Young Drive toward the end of 2005.
“The business has evolved a lot since then,” he said.
In February, Tart moved to a new location. He traded in his 1,600-square-foot store front for a 2,600-square-foot facility in the same shopping center.
“We needed some space to accommodate the equipment we work on,” he said. “TVs take up a lot of space.”
TV repair a growing market
Tart said television repair has been an emerging market for the last five years, both for his business and across the country.
“Over the years we gradually expanded the services we offer,” he said. “Printers, copiers and some computer work. We added the TVs about five years ago, and it has worked out very well.”
Cartridge Corner Plus is licensed to service products manufactured by Samsung, Copystar, Brother, Mitsubishi, Toshiba and others.
“We do all their warranty repairs for consumer electronics,” he said.
Tart also landed some juicy extended warranty accounts.
“We work very closely with Best Buy and Walmart,” Tart said.
Owner may expand services
Tart is looking into adding appliance repair to the services his company offers. He said he is constantly talking to customers and other businesses to find out what other services the community needs. Because of the reputation he has built, he said companies now often contact him directly.
“Believe it or not, a lot of services we added were at the request of the manufacturers,” he said. “They actually called us and said they were looking for someone to work with in the area.”
Tart said there is a lot of research involved in adding a new service. But once he has determined a service will be profitable, he pushes his chips all in.
“If we can do it, we go for it,” Tart said.