For nearly fifteen years, Doug Walton has owned the Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise located at 10699 Courthouse Road in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Because printing is considered an essential business, Minuteman Press Fredericksburg has remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It feels good to remain open and help other local businesses navigate the pandemic economy. We have been able to help them market themselves through direct mail, provide banners and signage to help with social distancing,” says Walton, “and we have even supplied many with acrylic sneeze guards and masks to help keep their employees and customers safe.”
Print is Essential
As a longtime local business owner in an essential industry, Walton is uniquely positioned to be able to help organizations and businesses as they continue to reopen and recover.
“We’ve expanded our products and services over the years and when the pandemic first hit we were ready to provide high-demand items such as direct mail, signage, and sneeze guards. Businesses have come to us for banners, posters, yard signs, floor decals, and branded clothing, which has been a good source of growth. When everyone’s graduation ceremonies were canceled, we were able to help students and their families celebrate with lawn signs.
“The response from the community has been incredible. They know we have been here for a long time, and they appreciate our ability to provide custom printing of all kinds to help keep people safe. We also have been helping businesses reach out to their customers through marketing and direct mail campaigns. When restaurants need new menus or businesses have important updates and special promotions, Minuteman Press Fredericksburg is here as their trusted local provider.”
According to Walton, the printing industry has been designated as essential for a reason. “The products and services we provide support almost every other business and allow them to continue to operate,” he says. “We print for many different kinds of customers—from HVAC contractors to the local Sheriff’s office and more. They all depend on us to do their jobs, and we are happy to be there to help them with everything they need during this unprecedented time.”
Bounce Back Fredericksburg
One of the ways Doug and his team are giving back is through Bounce Back Fredericksburg, a free community platform that provides businesses with free local listings and COVID-19 awareness and prevention posters.
To date, sixty participating businesses have posted special offers and promotions that community members can take advantage of to support local and shop local.
“I would encourage every business owner to advertise more,” says Walton. “There is no such thing as too much marketing. Take advantage of Bounce Back Fredericksburg, start a direct mail campaign, or simply take a look at your marketing materials and make sure everything is professional and up to date.”
As the economy continues to recover, Walton sees opportunities for businesses to come back strong.
“I’d like to think that we are proof it is possible to operate and market during the pandemic,” he says. “As more and more of the local economy comes back, my message is to refocus and stay positive. I hope my own positive attitude encourages my fellow business owners to realize we will get through this together and that brighter days are ahead.”
As for his own marketing efforts, Walton has used every tool available to him as part of the Minuteman Press franchise family.
“We have depended on direct mail, email, and social media to advertise,” he says. “We have kept the message simple by saying ‘we are here to help, and we are all in this together.’ The response has been very encouraging. Many have thanked us for being there when people need us at this critical time.
“As a franchisee, the support we’ve received from Minuteman Press International has been great. At the beginning, we received daily updates of what was going on in our industry, tips for pushing forward, words of encouragement, and tons of new resources including the launch of the Bounce Back USA program. They have continued to share success stories from across the nation and provide recommendations and industry news as well as new marketing templates and strategies to help us grow.”
Benefits of Franchising
Prior to owning his own business, Walton worked in construction. He was able to successfully switch industries and change careers by going the franchise route.
“Minuteman Press is outstanding,” he says. “They are always there for support. I couldn’t imagine navigating this pandemic without them. Over the years they have always been there when I need them and they are always looking for ways to help us be more successful. Minuteman Press truly cares about their franchisees.”
Reflecting on the rewards of business ownership, Walton adds, “It comes down to my improved quality of life. I don’t miss any of my daughter’s school or sports events. I can make my own schedule. It’s as simple as that and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
“Doug Walton has simply done a tremendous job as the owner of Minuteman Press Fredericksburg for nearly fifteen years,” says Bob Heimbuch, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President, Virginia/DC/Maryland. “I am especially proud of his efforts in helping the local business community through Bounce Back Fredericksburg as well as all of the ways he has been supporting local businesses during the pandemic. Doug is truly dedicated to his clients and his community and he lifts others up with his positivity while providing outstanding products and services.”
Advice for Others
When asked for what advice he would give to other business owners, Walton answers, “Put your blinders on and don’t pay any attention to bad news. Do everything you can to service your customers. Advertise more. This is not the time to cut back. Keep a positive attitude and encourage everyone in your community to support local businesses.
“And remember, we are all in this together.”