Putting it on paper
Photocopying business makes a move

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 30/98) - When entrepreneurs Pat McArdle and Kevin Mackie bought Northern Repro, they knew one of the first things they had to do was change the name.

"We were getting too many calls thinking we were a collection agency," McArdle said.

And when it came to the logo, the entrepreneurs opted for an animal not indigenous to the North.

"We chose the cheetah because we wanted to convey speed," McArdle said.

Often people will come in at 5 p.m. needing photocopies for a flight out of Yellowknife the next morning, said Mackie.

"We'll get it done," he said.

That means a lot of late nights and early mornings, he added.

In fact, McArdle and Mackie recall it was during a late work night that they first talked about making an offer on the business.

McArdle and Mackie bought the company from Gerry Menard -- Menard is McArdle's uncle by marriage -- about a year ago.

Northern Repro had been started by Colin Hudson and Menard, but Menard eventually bought out Hudson.

Kopykat North recently relocated to new offices on 49th Street across from JJ Hobbies.

Kopykat North, which employs McArdle and Mackie as well as two others, occupies 150 cubic metres of space at the new location. Prior to the move, the business was located on 48th Street.

The deal to buy out Menard took about six months, said Mackie, who is originally from Hay River.

If all goes according to business plan, the partners hope to be out from under the bank in about two and one half years.

The co-owners have stocked the business with a group of speedy photocopiers.

The photocopying fleet includes a Xerox 5100, an Oce 2600, a Canon colour 700S and a Xerox digital 265 as well as the Bruning 870 blueprinter. Blueprinting makes up about 35 per cent of the company's business.

On photocopying, McArdle estimates they produce about 250,000 copies a month on average. Top production would be during spring with production as high as 500,000. Government is their biggest customer with architectural and engineering firms second largest.

To keep on top of the market, McArdle said it will be important to keep updating their leased machines. Kopykat North plans to bring in a new blueprinter and when Xerox comes out with its computer hookup technology for their 265 model, the Yellowknife company plans to add the new technology to its repertoire.

"Digital is in," Mackie said.

"We're already putting money back into the business. We want to stay on top of the technology, the digital side," McArdle adds.