Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Friday, June 12, 2009


Some monasteries make cheese, others make jam, chocolate or wine.

The monks here at the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank make their money from the sale of ink and toner cartridges, and little of the labor is their own.

It's an unusual income source for a monastery. The idea came to the Rev. Bernard McCoy while the monks were working on an earlier income-generating plan:

One day, the monks were in the midst of a big report on the golf project when the printer ran out of toner and Father McCoy went to order more. “I thought, that’s way too much for a bunch of black dust,” he said.


[Sarah] Caniglia and Cindy Griffith were looking to sell their online ink and toner business, based in Loveland, Colo., and called Father McCoy to see if LaserMonks wanted to buy their database.

The two women drove to Wisconsin to visit the monastery, and never left. They now operate the business from a small house on monastery grounds. LaserMonks took in $4.5 million in gross revenue last year.

As reported in the New York Times

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