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Fascinating story in Forbes about the management tumult at Kinko’s, where the company’s founder has just been bought out by its largest shareholder amid charges that the shareholder has been mismanaging the business.

Essentially, the tale of woe goes like this. Six years ago, founder Paul Orfalea and 125 founders sold a 27.5 percent stake and effective control of Kinko’s to a New York buyout firm, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Since then, they have been squabbling about the company’s direction and sales; Kinko’s reportedly has gone through four CEOs and more business strategies and has suffered a 56 percent decline in net revenue since 1996. Those numbers are from Orfalea; Clayton, Dubilier & Rice doesn’t give out numbers and only says that the business is “on plan.”
KC's View:
As a regular Kinko’s customer, we have to admit that lately we’ve been disappointed by the outlet near us. It tends to run out of supplies, doesn’t have the same vigor that made it such a terrific “office away from the office,” and isn’t even open 24 hours a day anymore.

Too bad.

It’s hard to know whether the founders or the buyers are at fault. It probably is some combination thereof. But we’re pretty sure that wherever the blame belongs, Kinko’s has a way to go before it recaptures its former luster.

Object lesson: Luster lost is extremely difficult to regain.