Thomas and Denise Batliner have owned their Minuteman Press franchise located at 3905 Bardstown Road since November of 2005. With over 16 years in business, Thomas shares the following insights that helped he and Denise grow their business in Louisville and become members of the Minuteman Press International President’s Million-Dollar Circle.
On this accomplishment, Thomas says, “Denise and I believe marketing efforts, customer service, networking, and a little luck have been vital to our success and longevity. We would like to place special emphasis on customer service. At Minuteman Press in Louisville, we focus on treating the customer as we would like to be treated. We believe anyone who walks through the door can be our next biggest customer, and hospitality may make or break the possible relationship.”
He continues, “Over the past 16+ years in business, Denise and I have grown the business by developing relationships with new customer bases. More specifically, we gained these relationships through acquisitions. For example, in August of 2012, we purchased an independent printer. This acquisition almost doubled our 2011 sales in addition to our everyday marketing and networking. Then, in December of 2020, we purchased an independent promotional products company. Like our 2012 acquisition, we almost doubled the past year’s sales. Our new customers are the key to our success, and we appreciate their continued business and loyalty.”
From the US Navy to Owning a Printing Business
Prior to franchising with Minuteman Press, Thomas Batliner served in the US Navy. He shares, “We didn’t start Minuteman Press until 2005 when I was 38 years old. Before reaching this point, I served in the United States Navy for three years where I specialized in aviation hydraulics (AMH3). This military experience reinforced the work ethic instilled in me at a young age while farming with my family and has played a vital role in driving my determination to stay in the printing industry.”
Thomas continues, “Furthermore, after being honorably discharged, I was a tool and die specialist by trade before being promoted to an estimator at a plastics manufacturer, Beach, Mold, and Tool, now known as NYX. While in this role, I earned an associate degree in Business. But most importantly, I decided I wanted to drive my career and become an entrepreneur. Minuteman Press matched this goal because of the low initial investment, and the business presented the new challenge I was seeking.”
“Minuteman Press International supported me from the beginning before I had any professional knowledge about the printing industry. For instance, at the initial home office training, I learned basic facts about paper stocks and more information regarding machine availability and capabilities. Lastly, our office utilizes FLEX, the workflow software developed by Minuteman Press that constantly evolves to add effective apps that drive marketing value.” – Thomas Batliner, owner, Minuteman Press, Louisville, KY
Leveraging Local Business Relationships & Benefits of Printing Today
When asked what it has been like to own a business in Louisville for over 16 years, Thomas shares, “We are in an urban area and serve a diverse community. There are people from many varying backgrounds, and we have learned about different cultures from around the world. Additionally, we are part of a community where nearby business owners help and look out for one another. For instance, a nearby competitor has helped us continue production during machine downtime and meet customer demand. To return this favor, we have been known to share our resources if this competitor is short-staffed. Because of this dynamic, we believe it is important to develop healthy relationships with everyone in the community, even those with competing business goals.”
Thomas explains why printing remains so vital today, sharing, “We believe printing remains vital today because it secures a company’s mission. In terms of management, it also provides different avenues for documentation. To illustrate, when a business provides a digital or physical copy of an employee handbook to its staff, it can better document and communicate expectations and other important information.”
He adds, “The main benefit of print is that it can be found everywhere, from the menu you use at your favorite restaurant menu to the branded t-shirt you buy at the store. Because of print’s presence, companies always need it. Even during uncertain times like the pandemic, manufacturing facilities, hospitals, and a variety of other companies needed printed materials promoting safety warnings and best practices.”
“Our highest demand products and services include envelopes, every door direct mail (EDDM), and wide format printing, a powerful visual medium used for larger files such as blueprints and banners. Our customers value these products and services because they can reach a larger audience. In addition to our highest demand products, key growth areas for our business are promotional products and branded apparel. For example, the customers from our acquisition of the promotional products company have driven sales and we have added a new product line that existing customers can access,” said Thomas Batliner.
Rewards of Owning a Business & Advice to Others
As Thomas and Denise reflect on their accomplishments, there are a couple of items that really stick out. Thomas says, “The biggest personal reward for Denise and me was the ability to put both of our children through college as traditional four-year students. Lauren, our oldest, is now a critical care nurse and Erica, our youngest, is a sourcing and supply chain professional.”
He adds, “Aside from this personal reward, our biggest professional reward was receiving our plaque for the Minuteman Press International President’s Million Dollar circle. After 16+ years of business, it was an honor to achieve such a high sales goal and to meet others who have accomplished the same or more.”
Thomas shares the following advice to today’s aspiring business owners, saying, “The advice I would give to someone looking to own a business is ‘do your homework.’ You need to choose something you can be passionate about and enjoy daily. Despite the hard work ahead of you, because there are some long days and weeks, it can be very rewarding.”