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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 4 years ago

Just right

Rite Technology aims to make a new name for itself. But changing monikers comes with some unique challenges.
by: Beth Luberecki Contributing Writer

What's in a name? For Rite Technology, it was a lot of history that had turned confusing.

That's why the firm began embarking on a name change and rebranding effort three years ago. Founded in 1989 as Laser Rite Document Solutions, the Sarasota-based company originated with a focus on laser printers, remanufacturing toner cartridges and offering printer repair services.

The growth of the internet dramatically changed the printer and toner market. The company branched out into copiers, offering equipment, service and maintenance. That now makes up the bulk of its business. Two years ago, it shuttered its toner remanufacturing division.

While the business had gone in new directions, its name was stuck in the past. “We had an identity crisis,” says CEO David Polimeni. “Laser printers were no longer important to anyone like they were back in the late '80s and early '90s. Our name was misleading at best.”

Polimeni at first worried how longtime customers would be impacted by a name change. “But then I woke up one day and said, 'Hold on. They don't care what our name is. They care about the quality of work we provide to them,''' he says. “And the name has nothing to do with that.”

The company worked with Sarasota-based Grapevine Communications on the transition. And because it had already been playing off the word “Rite” for years, the switch to Rite Technology made sense.

A new, clearer name will help the firm as it continues to grow and develop new lines of business to meet the needs of 21st-century workplaces. After having sales reps in Tampa since 2011, Rite Technology opened a Tampa office in November 2015, which has accounted for a 30% increase in overall revenue. Data from the Business Equipment Quota Index helped support that expansion, showing that 12,500 copiers go under lease or are purchased annually in the Tampa area, versus 2,500 in the Sarasota-Bradenton region.

“It's a real simple math equation for me,” says Polimeni. “There's a lot of clients that need what we do. And we've found an opportunity to earn business that kind of surprises us, to be truthful. There's not a lot of vendor loyalty in the Tampa market. And in almost every case, we've been able to secure business because a company's been let down by their vendor on service after the sale.”

In addition to its copier services, Rite Technology also offers electronic document management and workflow software and is just beginning to expand further into managed IT services to assist clients with things like computer repairs, updates, and software migrations. The company also plans to open an office in Fort Myers, either next year or in 2018.

Year to date, the company's revenue is 50% above where it was last year at this time. Polimeni expects both revenue and the firm's current staff of 20 to grow even more in 2017.

“I'm forecasting that I'll add at least 10 employees by mid-year next year,” he says. “Next year is going to be huge. I would forecast that 2017 is going to be explosive, but not in an unmanageable sense.”

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