On Thursday, May 25, 2023, the father-and-son team of Tony and David Marder held their official Grand Opening at their Minuteman Press franchise print shop located at 495 East Long Avenue in Gastonia, North Carolina. The event was sponsored by the Gaston Business Association and had a fiesta theme that included margaritas, festive appetizers, a food truck, and a mariachi band. There were also plenty of raffles at the print shop grand opening, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony that served as a celebration of Tony and David’s new venture.
The father-and-son team purchased the business from retiring owners Pam and Bill Joles, who had owned the business for nearly thirty-two years. The Joles were also in attendance at the grand opening to help pass the torch.
Tony shares how he and David originally came into contact with Pam and Bill, and how that relationship grew to the point of purchasing the business. Tony also shares how he’s been building his business since the purchase and why print is so vital today:
You purchased the business after working in the shop for a couple of years. What were your roles/experiences as employees and what drove you to buy the business?
Tony Marder: Interestingly, even before working in the shop, Pam and Bill Joles were previous coaching clients. We met via our local BNI and Chamber memberships. At the time, I focused my business coaching with family-owned businesses and Pam and Bill engaged me to assist. I noticed how they were avid readers and spent focused time on goal-setting and systemization. Just before and during the pandemic closures, I asked if they needed someone very part time for deliveries or light finishing work to fill some of my open schedule.
At some point in early 2021, I asked Bill ‘how he intended to land this thing’ and he said, “Why? You want to buy a business?” My answer was, “Absolutely not!” But an hour later I mentioned that I felt this may be a good fit for me and my son David, whom I know to be very adept and resourceful with machines and computers and technology in general.
David joined the team as print production specialist in May of 2021 specifically to learn the finishing work. Having a bit of a graphics background didn’t hurt either and he quickly added pre-print typesetting and other aspects of pre-print work to his overview.
Knowing this was a good fit and having almost two years of on-the-Job experience with Pam and Bill made it a much easier decision for us to move forward.
What has the support from Minuteman Press International been like for you?
Tony Marder: Having experience with franchise teams, I expected the support system to be there. I was especially impressed with the FLEX software and the strength of the training and process protocols. The local team made the transition easy and the Home Office training team is concise and thorough. Every call or need is quickly handled and everyone jumps in to help with urgency as needed.
How do you describe your business and capabilities to potential clients?
Tony Marder: We can produce anything that can be printed or find someone in our organization that can; we will produce and deliver quickly high-quality work that helps them run or grow their business or organization.
What are the high-demand products and key growth areas?
Tony Marder: Our most requested items are business cards, forms, labels, stickers, letterhead and envelopes, booklets, manuals, newsletters, and mailings. We would like to feature more mailings, interior signage, posters, decals and graphic design.
What are some of the key ways you’ve grown your print business since taking over in January of 2023?
Tony Marder: Relationship marketing via phone and face to face direct marketing to existing and past clients, as well as SEO/SEM Marketing, active membership in the local chamber and Rotary. Planning now for future postcard mailings featuring postcard mailing as well as special promotions.
How would you best describe your community?
Tony Marder: We have a small but dedicated and loyal community. We are a volunteer and philanthropic community of diverse folks raising families and enjoying our corner of the world. We have a lot of natural resources that draws a wide range of individuals to the area spanning entrepreneurs, professionals, service-related businesses and manufacturers.
We enjoy the closeness of the Charlotte, North Carolina Metro area without the cumbersome things that make larger cities less attractive. Around here we say, “We don’t tell anybody about it, but if they find it on their own then it’s perfectly okay with us.”
Why do you think printing remains so vital to businesses today?
Tony Marder: Print is everywhere. I can’t go anywhere without seeing print in action. Every business or organization uses print at some level; either to run or grow their business. I feel email and social media marketing has its place but lacks a personal touch or relationship that could be developed.
Print solidifies other marketing sources and cements brand recognition. People read, so giving them something to read is the best way to keep them engaged.
What are the biggest rewards of owning your business?
Tony Marder: This is a cashflow business with a lot of upside potential. Cash is certainly king when it comes to owning your business and this one is no different. Personally, I’m in it to help my son secure a future and continue to provide inspiration for the team. I’d like to see us increase what we can give back to our community and find more ways to engage the public.
What advice would you give to other business owners right now?
Tony Marder: Attract and hire people smarter than you, then get out of their way and give them room to shine. Find a mentor who has documented experience with the legal, financial, and accounting arenas and do not resist being pushed closer to the fire. Get in there and get it done.