When Cathie Loudon purchased her Minuteman Press franchise in East Northport, Long Island in 1984, her son Dave was fifteen-years-old. “I fondly remember working in the shop during my high school years, and then I started full-time in the family business in 1988,” says Dave.
While the printing industry has certainly changed in the thirty-eight years since the Loudon family first joined the Minuteman Press family, there are a few common threads that remain today.
“I have always believed in providing a personal touch and outstanding customer service,” says Dave. “If we can deliver high quality products on time and make sure we are there for are clients whenever they need us, we have seen for nearly forty years how that will generate positive referrals for our business.”
This customer-facing approach and proactive outreach helped Minuteman Press in East Northport hold steady during the height of the pandemic in 2020 as they remained open and operating as an essential business. Then, as more businesses ramped up their production and promotion of goods and services, Dave and his team were able to achieve 66 percent sales growth in 2021 over 2020.
And today, Minuteman Press in East Northport is on pace for another record sales year in 2022, including record monthly sales in April of 2022.
Dave says, “There were clients that we reached out to who asked us to fulfill orders for essential items during the pandemic. Some of these clients are now asking us to fulfill bigger orders for even more items they need now that business is picking up.
“For many years, we’ve had a relationship with one of our startup clients. Suddenly, during the pandemic, they entered a boom period and have been growing ever since. What used to be smaller orders are now larger, more high volume orders that we are able to fulfill.”
In addition to the usual outreach and customer service, Dave also invests in the Minuteman Press Internet Marketing Program. “Just sticking with the Minuteman Press system is really what has worked best for us and kept us going all of these years,” says Dave
When asked about the evolution of the printing industry over the past thirty-eight years, Dave says, “Digital printing, wide format, and the internet are the three biggest differences. We can do so much with in-house digital and wide format printing, which is a huge benefit for our turnaround times.”
As for online competition, Dave says, “We get a good amount of people who come in asking us to clean up incorrect projects that someone else did online. When we fix orders like these, it helps us keep our reputation as the go-to local printer, and it leads many of them to use us from the first step the next time around. This helps us build and maintain our reputation, and generates more good will and referrals.”
Dave has two pieces of advice for other business owners: “First, remember that customer service is one of your most powerful forms of relationship-building, and, in its own way, marketing.
“Secondly it’s important to remind people about the tangibility and viability of print. Simply put, print makes an impact. Whether it’s signage, restaurant menus, or postcards with QR codes, print has the ability to draw people to your business, both in person and online.”