Applied Imaging President John Lowery, discusses his dealership’s latest acquisitions and how they’ve helped double the size of his dealership.
Last week Applied Imaging in Grand Rapids, MI, announced the acquisition of Hasselbring-Clark in Lansing, MI, a Toshiba dealership with approximately $7 million in annual revenues. The combined companies are now operating under the Applied Imaging brand and management.
Hasselbring-Clark was founded in 1973 and is authorized for the full line of Canon and Toshiba products. Applied Imaging was already Canon authorized and with the acquisition became authorized to sell and service Toshiba printers, copiers, and MFPs.
Founded in 1987 in Grand Rapids, Applied Imaging has offices in Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Lansing, Traverse City, Alpena, Novi, Ann Arbor, Clio, Troy, and Toledo, Ohio. Some of the manufacturers represented by Applied Imaging include Ricoh, Canon, Kyocera, Océ, Samsung, and Toshiba.
Even though the announcement of the acquisition was made on April 28, it actually closed in late 2017.
“We always are a little skeptical of doing something right away, we want to make sure we go out, get all the machines tagged, get a relationship with the customer, because invariably what you see every time an acquisition is made [the acquired dealer’s customers] become a target for all of your competitors,” explained John Lowery, president of Applied Imaging.
Applied Imaging made two other acquisitions in 2017 that have yet to be publicized, including an IT company and a Canon dealership with about $1 million in annual revenues. It was also one of the dealers fortunate to take on the Ricoh MIF, which Lowery said has been a win-win for both Applied and Ricoh.
Lowery likes Lansing, which he described as a good market, and a market where Applied competed head to head with Hasselbring-Clark.
“Lansing is an important market to us due to it being our state capital and the home of Michigan State University,” stated Lowery in an April 28 press release. “This acquisition reinforces our commitment to Ingham and the surrounding counties.”
During a telephone interview earlier this week, Lowery described Hasselbring-Clark as a tough competitor.
“They have a great account base and were really good at keeping their base,” he said.
Now Applied Imaging has direct access to that base. Applied has retained most of Hasselbring-Clark’s 44 employees, including virtually the company’s sales manager and virtually everyone on the sales and service side of the business to ensure that they can retain the dealership’s long-time base.
The acquisition has been a good fit as both dealerships carry Toshiba and Hasselbring-Clark was also a value-driven reseller like Applied Imaging. Hasselbring-Clark also possessed a similar culture and values.
“It was a perfect fit and has worked out great,” said Lowery.
Applied Imaging has a strong MPS and Managed IT business and although Hasselbring-Clark had dabbled in MPS, it wasn’t strong in that area, nor was it offering customers Managed IT.
“That’s a great opportunity for us to grow there as well,” said Lowery who also sees an opportunity for the combined companies to expand their production print business.
Where there was more of an overlap was in document management. Hasselbring-Clark had a strong relationship with Docuware, which Applied was not carrying, but has now added to its document managing offerings, replacing another vendor who Lowery felt was too ubiquitous in the channel.
“We like to differentiate, and we do that with OnBase from Hyland, but DocuWare is a really good second offering,” noted Lowery.
Lowery sees the combined company only getting stronger.
“There’s a lot of things we’re going to bring to the table to help them be a lot more efficient about what they do,” he said.
The acquisitions Applied Imaging have made during the past year along with the Ricoh MIF is making a difference. During the past 18 months the dealership has grown from 240 employees to 400, and in an industry where many dealers are watching their clicks decline, Lowery reported that year over year, Applied was up 51% in that area.
“We’re doing it the right way, we’re not the lowest price provider, we’re maybe 5-10% more and we’re going to bring more value to [customers],” concluded Lowery.
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