For nearly thirty-eight years, Carl Denti and his family operated their independent print shop Avante Print Center. In February 2022, Carl sold the business to new owners Devin and John Weiss through Minuteman Press International’s conversion program, which connects sellers with qualified buyers.
“It was time for me to join my wife Patricia in retirement and I think the transition to International Minute Press has gone very well,” says Carl. “I needed to like the people who bought the business and Devin and John are great. My daughter Renee has stayed on working in the business and we also have employees with twenty-five years of tenure, so it was important for us to be comfortable with everything.”
Devin and John have rebranded as International Minute Press in Mesa, AZ, and are operating out of the same location at 218 West Hampton Avenue, Unit 13 that was home to Avante Print Center. Devin says, “We believe owning a business gives us a real sense of pride. By purchasing this established business, we strive to honor our clients, our community, and our staff with continued personalized service and outstanding support.”
History of the Business
On March 27, 1984, Carl Denti and his wife Patricia opened Avante Print Center in Mesa. “I had owned a previous business in Kansas City that I sold. We moved to Arizona and at that time I decided to invest in another business,” shares Carl. “I told my accountant I didn’t want anything in credit collections (which I did for fifteen years) and I didn’t want to own a food-related business. One of the things he came up with was printing.
“Patricia was very influential in having us go into the printing industry as well. She previously had worked for Hallmark in Kansas City doing calligraphy, and she wanted something we could do together. In our first full year in business together, we made a 39.8 percent profit.”
While printing proved to be a viable business for Carl and Patricia, he also appreciated the freedom it afforded him to pursue other passions. “From 1992 to 2021, I also served as the pastor of a church in Arizona, which I never really considered to be work plus it didn’t really pay the bills,” says Carl. “Printing was an easy business to market and sell, and I felt it had easier customer acquisition than other industries.”
Over the years, Avante Print Center became a second-generation family business. “Patricia and I worked together in the business until she retired a few years ago, and my daughter Renee also worked with us and is still working in the business today even after it was sold,” explains Carl.
Growing the Business
For the thirty-seven-plus years he was in business, Carl operated on four key principles. He says, “No matter what business you own, for me the principles never change. We built Avante Print Center following these principles:
- “Customer service was the apex. We decided that no one would out-service us. When we said we were going to do something, we did it. My goal was to get at least 98 percent (if not 100 percent) of all jobs out on time and done right.
- “My definition of quality is that the job has to be accepted by the customer, that they will be happy with it and order it again, and that they will tell someone about the work that we did and refer our business.
- “You have to be able to go after the market and you have to sell. One of the problems people run into when starting a business is that their goal is to simply unlock their doors. Instead, your goal needs to be to make a profit, which takes a lot more than turning the key and turning on lights.
- “Know your numbers and live by your numbers. It’s as simple as that.”
Selling the Business
While Carl was thinking of retiring at some point, he actually wasn’t actively pursuing a sale of his printing business. “I did not have the business listed for sale, but I’ve known Jack Panzer (Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President) for approximately eight years,” he explains. “When I received a letter and flyer in the mail that Jack could help sell my business, I thought that was very smart of Minuteman Press International do reach out. Jack was very laid back whenever we spoke, and he was always open and honest along with being knowledgeable about the industry.
“Jack Panzer is very transparent and open as is the team at Minuteman Press International. I don’t think there’s a better way to sell your business and here’s why: (1.) You’re not paying any commission; (2.) you’re working with a well-established forty-five-year company in Minuteman Press International; and (3.) your buyer is going to have a much better chance of succeeding with the support they are getting. If they succeed, then your employees will be taken care of…and that really means a lot to us.”
At the beginning of 2021, the timing was right. “In January 2021, Jack approached me with a qualified buyer that he thought could be a fit for my shop,” shares Carl. “I told him what it would cost if someone wants to buy our business. I also consulted with my daughter Renee, who decided she didn’t want to take over the business. We started the sales process in March 2021 and it was finished by February 2022.”
As for the transition to the new owners, Carl says, “I think the transition has gone very well. I needed to like the people who bought the business and Devin and John Weiss are great. Renee has stayed on working in the business and we also have employees with twenty-five years of tenure, so it was important for us to be comfortable with everything.”
Meet the New Owners
Devin and John Weiss are no strangers to owning a business. Devin says, “John and I have owned several diverse businesses but most recently I owned a dance studio for twenty-five years. When John and I met approximately year years ago, we started a business together shortly after, that we continue to operate.”
When the opportunity came to buy an established business while also receiving additional support, Devin says, “Honestly, it was a no brainer. We had planned to open an International Minute Press in the area in 2020, just before the pandemic hit. A year and a half later, our Regional VP Jack Panzer, reached out with this opportunity to buy Avante Print Center and convert it to International Minute Press. It was such a great opportunity that we couldn’t pass it up!”
When asked why they chose franchising, Devin answers, “We have looked at other businesses and franchises, and were completely impressed with Minuteman Press International by comparison. The amount of hands-on guidance and support are second-to-none. In the past, we have always done businesses independently, and having the support of this franchise in particular was a great draw.”
Entering the Printing Industry
Now that Devin and John are operating their business, they are excited to hit the ground running and continue the legacy that Carl and family started.
Devin says, “We believe owning a business gives you a sense of pride. By purchasing an established business, we strive to honor our clients, our community, and our staff with continued outstanding service and support.”
As a full-service printing and marketing services provider, Devin and John are excited to help other local businesses and organizations with virtually everything they need to operate and promote themselves. Devin says, “Wide format printing is especially exciting right now,” says Devin. “There is such a wide variety of custom printed products that we can provide to our clients—we haven’t found anything we can’t do yet in-house or with the help of our franchisor and vendors.”
As she reflects on owning a business versus having a job, one word comes to mind for Devin: “Freedom!”
“While you have to put in many hours as the owner of a business, they are on your own schedule and with your own priorities,” she elaborates. “You decide what your life entails every day, and we wouldn’t trade that for the world! We love to travel, and the freedom makes that possible.”
Advice for Others
Devin shares this advice for others who are looking to buy a business right now: “Do your due diligence. A positive attitude is a must. Survey other business owners about their experiences, both good and bad. There is a lot of preparation that goes into buying a business, and having a successful franchise to guide you is a great option. Ultimately no matter how prepared you are, it is a learning experience!”