After years of running its Canadian operation from the home of its Montreal sales manager, a U.S. distributor of imaging supplies has opened a warehouse here to better serve Canadian VARs and expand its market.

With the move Diversified Computer Sales, which is based in Ann Arbor, Mich.,

can eliminate the minimum US$30,000 order rule it had to bring product across the border, and can price product in Canadian dollars.

The minimum order rule was an obstacle, but in the springthe company decided it was doing enough volume to open a Montreal warehouse, said Jonatan Festa, vice-president of sales for Canada.

“For us it became almost a no-brainer decision to open up in Canada,” he said.

The rise of the Canadian dollar had nothing to do with the decision, he added, saying it’s “just a bonus. It helps us even more.”

Gordon MacDonald, who had been running Canadian sales from his home in suburban Montreal,is the division president.

“We’re looking to expand to five people within four to six weeks” for sales and warehouse positions, Festa added.

The consumables market is big business. According to Evans Research, companies here spent $1.2 billion last year on new or recycled ink cartridges of various kinds, up 10 per cent from 2002.

Diversified sells toner, ink jet and laser cartridges for printers, copiers and fax machines from major brands such as Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Epson, Okidata, Lexmark, Brother and Samsung.

“We focus on those SKUs that bring large amount of sales to our dealers,” said Festa, claiming Diversified’s prices are five to 20 per cent below competitors such as Daisytek (now part of Synnex Canada) and AzertyUnited Canada.

Festa said he used to be a senior sales manager at Azerty but left that company in January and joined Diversified in September.

While resellers make up about 80 per cent of its business, Festa said other distributors buy from it as well.

“What we really want to do is drive profitable business bothfor ourselves and our dealers,” he said.

According to Festa, Diversified has annual revenues of aboutUS$60 million.

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