It is purposely tucked away on the edge of a woods in western Wisconsin.
The Our Lady of Spring Bank Catholic monastery is home to five brothers. They are monks of modest means — they don't have a whole lot of things or a whole lot to say. Talking at meals is strictly prohibited. Instead, they spend much of the day praying.
Of course, praying doesn't pay the bills, which is why not long ago the brothers tried to come up with a new, inventive way to support themselves, reports CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman.
They were thinking of either starting a shitake mushroom farm or possibly building an 18-hole golf course on the abbey grounds. But then something happened that would change everything. Call it divine printer-vention.
"My printer ran out of toner," says Brother Bernard McCoy. "I was going to buy one online and I was just appalled at the cost of the black dust," he adds as he pulls out a printer cartridge.
And to make a long story short, "LaserMonks was born," Bernard says.
The brothers don't make cartridges — they're just the middle-monks, with an online store and now a catalogue with 42,000 other office products.
"And of course, with us you always get a spiritual rebate with every purchase. The monks are going to pray for you. And none of the national retailers are going to offer you that," Bernard quips.
Today they are one America's fastest-growing office-supply companies. Sales this year could hit $5 million — that's a million a monk.
While Brother Bernard has never taken a vow of poverty, he and his fellow monks have resisted spending their money on luxurious items.
In fact, the profits go to charity, which is why Bernard says it's only a matter of time before this monk e-business becomes the No. 1 office retailer in the country.
"To offer things that you need at a better, or at least a competitive price — and you know it's going to be used for good works all over the world," Brother Bernard says with a devilish grin. "Who would you choose?"
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