When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, local business owner Jared Ostendorf decided that failure wasn’t an option for himself and the community he loves. Jared has owned his printing and marketing franchise International Minute Press Fayetteville for eleven years, and as an essential business, he was able to remain open and use his business for good. He supplied local restaurants and other open businesses with 100 free banners that can still be seen around town and launched a free community website Bounce Back Fayetteville to support local businesses. All of his efforts have paid off as Jared has doubled his monthly gross sales in May 2020, reaching record highs at the height of COVID-19.
On the success of his business during these times, Jared says, “I always go by the philosophy that we don’t tell a customer ‘No.’ When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we didn’t stop. We got creative and listened to our customers. I looked at closing or taking time off as a personal failure so we did everything we could to stay open and our efforts paid off.” Jared has been a longstanding member of the President’s Million-Dollar Circle for his franchisor Minuteman Press International, which makes his sales success even more impressive.
Goodwill Goes a Long Way
One of the first things Jared did when the pandemic first took hold is to use his printing and marketing capabilities to give back to other local businesses. “I reached out to local restaurants and other clients who couldn’t advertise that they were open. We printed and gave away one hundred banners that were appreciated and put up around Fayetteville once the city lifted restrictions and allowed banners to fly. The message was simple, ‘WE ARE OPEN / TAKEOUT IS AVAILABLE.’ Before you know it, our banners with our branding and colors were all over Fayetteville. It sent the signal that we are open, that Fayetteville businesses are open.”
Jared’s goodwill went a long way. “We wanted to do something to support local businesses because we are a local business. We generated new business from other open businesses who learned about our wide format printing services, and we gained twenty new repeat clients which helped bring us record sales in May. It was really nice to see the business community come together and our hard work come back around to help us thrive even during this time.”
Resiliency of the Printing Industry
The printing industry has always been resilient during tough times. Jared explains how he was able to grow his business despite the effects of COVID-19. “It’s not about having the biggest customers but earning trust and having repeat customers from a diverse range of industries. We are able to do this because printing allows for such a wide range of products and services and so we can meet a diverse range of needs.”
He adds, “We are producing a lot of large format printing, signage and banners right now and we also can design, print, and send direct mail marketing campaigns for clients. Having a diverse client base allows us to be steady. While one of our bigger clients has been closed for two months, we also gained other clients who have been spending more. The customers you relied on might not be there right now, but then you make up for it with new customers.”
As North Carolina continues to reopen, Jared is hopeful to continue accelerating his growth, saying, “As we enter Phase 2 in North Carolina, we are starting to see our clients come back with their normal orders and spending. Between that and the traction in sales we’ve gained, we are in a great position to help others bounce back as we all get back to more regular business.”
Helping Fayetteville Businesses Bounce Back
To continue the momentum and help spur Fayetteville’s reopening, Jared and his team at International Minute Press have jumped on board with a free Web site called Bounce Back Fayetteville, which is part of Minuteman Press International’s larger Bounce Back USA initiative that was rolled out nationwide. Bounce Back Fayetteville provides local businesses with free listings and allows community members to support local businesses to help stimulate local economic growth and recovery. Businesses also receive a free COVID-19 awareness and prevention poster that they can display in their business to keep everyone safe. Even the local radio stations got on board and started promoting the initiative, which keeps growing. Jared says, “Right now, we have approximately 120 local businesses participating in Bounce Back Fayetteville. The free service is a great way to connect businesses and consumers who want to support each other. I embraced the program as soon as it was launched by Minuteman Press International and immediately called customers just to ask them how they are doing. I explained what we were doing with Bounce Back Fayetteville, and just like the banners we gave away, everyone was so appreciative.
“By staying open and reaching out to our clients with free banners and our free Web site Bounce Back Fayetteville, it allowed us to have a conversation and maintain a positive dialog with other local businesses. It was very heartening to see how we really are in this together, and how supporting local businesses is something we can all agree on. It’s great to be able to lift each other up.”
Receiving Leadership and Franchise Support
While Jared is the independent owner and operator of International Minute Press Fayetteville, as a franchisee he’s thankful to have the ongoing support from Minuteman Press International. He says, “From the beginning of COVID-19 through to today, our President Nick Titus has been incredible. Nick quickly mobilized the entire corporate and regional staff to support us and he personally stayed in contact with us frequently. I am a big fan of the initiative he’s taken as the new President of Minuteman Press International during this unprecedented time. He brings new energy, the entire team has delivered new marketing programs for us to use such as the Bounce Back initiative, and I am excited for the future under his leadership.”
On the local level, Jared credits Regional Vice President David Walton for always being there for him over the past eleven years as well. “Dave is a great asset to have in my corner right here locally. Whenever I’ve needed anything over the years, Dave has been there for me. It’s also nice that Minuteman Press International allows us the freedom to run our business while also providing that support and guidance whenever we need it.”
Jared concludes, “We are glad to be here, standing tall. That message of hope is one I hope to share throughout Fayetteville as we continue to reopen.”
Jared Ostendorf’s International Minute Press franchise is located at 1005 Arsenal Ave., Fayetteville, NC 28305. For more information, call Jared and his team at (910) 485-7955 or visit their Web site at https://www.fayetteville.intlminutepress.com.