During his first year in business as Minuteman Press franchise owner in Medina, Ohio, Dave Wyatt was faced with the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We reached out to local businesses early on to let them know we were there to help them in their time of need,” he says. “They learned we were open as an essential business and that they could trust us, and that sparked our growth.”
One of the ways Wyatt helped other local businesses when they needed it most was through their free initiative Bounce Back Medina. “Bounce Back Medina simply connects local businesses with community members who are looking to shop local and support local. This is completely free and we also provide participating businesses with free COVID-19 awareness posters,” he says. “This was our way of letting everyone know that we are all in this together and we will help in any way we can to lift each other up.”
Wyatt also reached out to local bars and restaurants, providing them with one hundred free printed menus. “I knew they needed to make changes to their menus or simply needed to use them to reach out to customers, so I thought it was the right thing to do. They were very appreciative and once again they saw that we were there to help them at a critical time,” he says.
He also printed free ten-minute parking signs for all businesses in the square downtown. “Curbside pickup became very big, and I just wanted to do my part to help other businesses adapt and stay safe,” says Wyatt.
Goodwill Goes a Long Way to Growing Sales
As a result of his efforts in giving back and building authentic relationships with other local businesses he truly cares about, Wyatt has seen his sales grow 30 percent despite the challenges of the pandemic.
“Some of the businesses I reached out to through Bounce Back and these other giveaways have remembered us and stuck with us. They see that we can meet their printing and marketing needs,” he says. “More importantly, they know I am there for them and that I can empathize with them since I am a local business owner too.”
At Minuteman Press Medina, Wyatt is able to provide high-demand products and services that local businesses need right now. He explains, “We provide general printing services, custom branded apparel, wide format printing and signage, and direct mail campaigns. These are all items being ordered and used by our clients during the pandemic.
“For example, we were honored to be able to help our graduating students last year by printing over 1,200 signs for families. We are proud to help keep businesses safe with social distancing signage and branded face masks. They can safely reach out to their target audiences through direct mail postcards as well as Dynamic Direct Mail, where people are contacted both through the mail and online.”
Wyatt adds, “We are local and we care about our community. We have that personal touch you won’t find elsewhere, and you certainly won’t find it online. You will not find another team to take care of your printing and marketing needs like we do at Minuteman Press Medina.”
He also credits his local in-house staff of three employees who he is able to lean on to make sure his clients receive that personal touch and outstanding customer service. “We have a great team that works well together,” says Wyatt. “Sierra is our Graphic Designer; Mary is our Customer Support Rep; and Eric is our Production Specialist. I am humbled to have the support I do from them. As a business owner you want to be comfortable when you are away from the shop and they make it that way for me.”
Furthering his local ties to the community, Wyatt makes sure to get involved and stay active. “Community is so important. I am a Chamber Ambassador for the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce and also a member of the Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce,” he says. “This allows me to get to know the new businesses as they are coming in or just joining the Chamber. I am a member of the Medina County Economic Development Corporation as well. I join as many networking groups as I can and still be comfortable with my time. Networking and growing relationships through the ‘know, like and trust’ platform was key in thriving during this pandemic.”
From the US Army to the American Dream of Business Ownership
Prior to owning his own business at the end of 2019, Wyatt says, “I spent eight years in the Army as an Aircraft Electrician. I spent the next eighteen years with Konica Minolta (sixteen years in service and three years in sales). During that time, I did a lot of training and calibrating equipment so I was in many different types of businesses. I saw independent print shops, UPS stores, and Minuteman Press franchises. When I decided to own my own business, I knew I didn’t want to open without support so I went the franchise route.”
Why Minuteman Press? Wyatt answers, “What I liked about Minuteman Press from what I learned in research and what I saw while working for Konica Minolta is that they allow the personality of the business to shine. They offer the most flexibility in terms of how to run your franchise, so while I am following their system, I still feel like an entrepreneur. I didn’t see that from other franchises and I also didn’t want something like foodservice where I’d be working long hours at night and on weekends. Having that freedom to be me and the Monday-to-Friday hours were huge, along with their training and support.”
He adds, “Our Minuteman Press FLEX software system is also a huge game-changer for us. We have implemented customer dashboards, which allows for easy online ordering and reordering. If people come to me and say that they prefer online ordering, we make that available to them while also still being their local trusted provider they can still talk to and meet with. They can have the best of both worlds.”
Advice for Others
Wyatt shares the following advice for others who are looking to own a business. He states, “Ensure you have enough capital; my bank has been a good business partner and because of that I was prepared when the pandemic first hit. With that said, you can’t be afraid to spend money in ways that will help you market and grow. Invest in people, inventory, and equipment where it makes sense.
“I also encourage you to study, read books, and listen to podcasts. Always be learning and never stop.”