Student-run green office supply store opens in vacated credit union

Nicole Stempak

Entrepreneurial majors gain hands-on experience

Kent State is one step closer to going green.

Inkling, a green, student-run ink cartridge store, opened on the second floor of the Student Center in the vacated Kent State Student Credit Union yesterday.

The store’s goal is to sell “anything that’s eco-friendly or hopefully 100 percent recycled,” said Lea Koehler, head of marketing and innovative recycling.

Koehler and three other entrepreneurial majors were assigned the first day of class to develop a business plan for a store.

“Starting a business with a partnership is hard in the first place, but to do it with people you’ve never worked on a project with before, that can be pretty catastrophic,” inventory manager Chrissy Spangler said, adding they avoided a disaster because of open communication.

Spangler said opening an ink cartridge and printing store was never any of their dreams.

“It’s a good situation to practice in,” she said. “Because what we have to focus on, more than just starting a business on their own, is just the idea. We’re formulating a really strong business concept and business plans.”

Keith Schmader, freshman information systems major, said he was just walking by on his way to the Center for Student Involvement when he saw Inkling and decided to stop inside. He said he may stop back in again “for the ink cartridge bit of it.”

“But how many people are going to walk over here from the computer lab to print something that’s still going to cost them seven cents?” he asked. “Probably not many, except from that lab (pointing to the computer lab adjacent to the store).

“If I’m down in the library, I’m not going to print over here for seven cents.”

In addition to ink cartridges and refills, Inkling also sells vintage fabric bags, recycled postcards, organic cotton T-shirts, folders, envelopes and scented recycled pencils.

Spangler said the store will continuously refresh its inventory.

“The coolest thing we have is a two-inch desk bundle package that has a binder, folder, 3-ring notebook, filler paper, pencil and biodegradable highlighter,” she said. “It has everything you would need for your classes. I’m actually waiting for those to come in because I want to pick one of them up.”

After this semester, the entrepreneurs have three options with the store. They can close up shop and liquidate their inventory, move elsewhere on campus or sell business to Kent State, provided the university is interested.

Regardless of the store’s future, Spangler said the experience has already impacted them.

“I think we’ve all, in our own personal lives, changed something about our habits that are better for the environment, especially being obsessive with scrap paper.”

Contact administration reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].