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Mark Robinett, left, is exiting the office equipment business after turning his customers and most of his employees over to Mike Kelly and Byron Pearson, owners of Pearson-Kelly Office Products. The move essentially doubles Pearson-Kelly's operations.
Mark Robinett, left, is exiting the office equipment business after turning his customers and most of his employees over to Mike Kelly and Byron Pearson, owners of Pearson-Kelly Office Products. The move essentially doubles Pearson-Kelly's operations.

Robinett Copiers & Printers ends 28-year run

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A longstanding office equipment dealer is defunct, and another has doubled in size as a result.

Owner Mark Robinett ceased operations of Robinett Copiers & Printers on June 1 after nearly three decades as Springfield's "Minolta Man," a nickname he picked up as carrier of Konica Minolta copiers. Robinett, who in September 2006 voluntarily filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for his company, cited short-term financing troubles, declining business and a desire for a career change as reasons for shutting down.

Until recently, the company was following the terms of a court-ordered debt reorganization plan in place since June 2007. When Robinett Copiers & Printers could no longer make payments to creditors, the company's largest lienholder, Great Southern Bank, foreclosed on the company's assets, according to Robinett's attorney, David Schroeder of David Schroeder Law Offices PC.

On June 9, Pearson-Kelly Office Products, owned by Robinett's longtime business acquaintances Byron Pearson and Mike Kelly, purchased a portion of those assets - mostly office equipment inventory - for an undisclosed amount. Pearson-Kelly also has hired five of Robinett's eight employees and taken over service contracts for nearly all of his customers.

Pearson-Kelly has since hired an account executive and a dispatcher, Accounting and Administrative Manager Lisa Pearson said. The deal essentially doubles Pearson-Kelly's employee count and its customer list.

"It's nice, in this economy, that these customers aren't going to be left hanging," Pearson said.

Pearson-Kelly has leased the space next door to its 2013 W. Woodland St. office to accommodate the additional staff and now occupies 4,800 square feet.

The Robinett arrangement is Pearson-Kelly's third expansion since opening in 2002 in Byron and Lisa Pearsons' garage. The company - a finalist in both 2008 and 2009 for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year Award - bought Progressive Business Systems in 2003 and Kolar-Henderson Business Solutions in late 2005.

"Every three years, we make an acquisition," Kelly joked. "Tell Xerox, look out for three years from now."

Pearson emphasized that the company has not purchased Robinett Copiers & Printers or assumed any of its obligations or debt - which includes a secured claim of $109,043 filed by the Internal Revenue Service during the company's bankruptcy. Attorney Schroeder said the IRS would receive any assets or accounts receivable that remain after Robinett Copiers & Printers clears its secured debt to Great Southern, which totaled $153,802, according to the 2007 reorganization plan.

Robinett Copiers & Printers' closing comes after several years of ups and downs.

The company reported more than $900,000 in debt when it filed bankruptcy in 2006, much of which had accrued during a post-Sept. 11, 2001, slump, according to past Springfield Business Journal coverage. Still, Robinett told SBJ at the time that business had picked up, and he expected sales revenue to be up at least 15 percent that year.

The court closed the company's bankruptcy case nine months later.

Then in May 2008, Robinett sold the company's mailing division to Summit Mailing & Shipping Systems in Oklahoma City for $500,000. At the time, Robinett said he planned to focus his efforts on the copier side of business and double his staff by 2012.

"I've done this since 1981, and I was pretty tired," Robinett said, adding that he plans to sell timeshares in Branson while enjoying freedom from the highly competitive and stressful copier industry. "I've been wanting to do something else."[[In-content Ad]]

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