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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Maggie Papp is a Woman of Distinction

  • Maggie Papp, Pittsburg operator of Rapid Refill Ink, was surprised when she received word that she had been chosen for the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Women of Distinction calendar.

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  • Maggie Papp, Pittsburg operator of Rapid Refill Ink, was surprised when she received word that she had been chosen for the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Women of Distinction calendar.
    “It truly is an honor, but I don’t think that I do anything unusual,” she said.
    Of course, not everybody graduates with a second college degree at the age of 50, or is responsible for keeping eight tons of ink and toner cartridges out of local landfills.
    Papp earned her first Pittsburg State University degree, in business administration management, in 1993. But  years later, after a divorce and with only one of her children still at home, she decided that she needed a new focal point to her life.
    “I went back to PSU, graduated with a degree in accounting in 2004 at the age of 50, and then wondered what was next,” Papp said. “I had helped with two other businesses, so I went to a franchise head hunter and read six or seven UFOCs, which are offerings that companies put out for prospective franchisees. I wanted to bring something new and different to Pittsburg, and I wanted to make a difference.”
    She finally decided on Rapid Refill Ink, since it deals with a product used by many and stresses recycling.
    She said that her own family history prompted her concerns with the environment. Her great-grandfather was a coal miner in the Cherokee County coal mines.
    “My grandmother was born near Big Brutus,” Papp said. “They talk about how much miners took from the ground but didn’t return anything. Back then, they didn’t think 100 years down the road. Some of the mined land has been reclaimed, but some is still not usable and we still have cave-ins from shaft mines. In 2012 we wonder why our great-grandparents didn’t think about the environment. I don’t want to be on that list 100 years from now.”
    Her Rapid Refill Ink franchise opened in August 2007.
    “It took about six months prior to get the store built and go through training,” Papp said “Todd Ewing, the mall manager, and his contractor were awesome. The contractor really knew what he was doing, but I don’t know if I knew what I was doing. It was quite a learning curve to open this business.”
    She talks enthusiastically about reusing cartridges and recycling those that can’t be reused.
    “They grind them five times,” Papp said. “The material has several uses, including for bedding baby plants and for filling potholes in streets and highways. It can be mixed in with the asphalt, or used to fill in the hole before the asphalt is laid down.”
    She was the first recipient of Rapid Refill Ink’s Cascades Award, which recognizes an operator for outstanding community and environmental leadership.
    Page 2 of 2 - Papp has also donated more than $5,000 to local charities. She serves on the Southeast Kansas Recycling Center board of directors, and is active with New Hope Services and Special Olympics, and is a member of the Pittsburg Area Chamber Leads Group. She also serves as a part-time instructor at Fort Scott Community College.
    Papp is a third-generation area resident, and her grandfather was Judge Leland Resler, a district judge for Crawford County. However, she spent several years traveling the world as  a youngster.
    “My father was in the military and we lived in Japan and Turkey,” she said. “He died in 1961 and my mother moved back here to live with her mother. It was a real culture shock for me to come back to Kansas.”
    But Papp fell in love with Pittsburg, including Picco Ice Cream and the vibrant downtown area.
    “Pittsburg is so terribly, terribly rich in history,” she said. “Half the people in Pittsburg don’t realize what a cool town this was. I wish the economy would improve, but we can make it through this if we stay together. That’s how we got through the first 100 years.”

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