Minuteman Press in Columbia, Missouri is located at 2511 Bernadette Drive. Since buying the printing franchise in December 2019, owner David Wallace has steadily grown his business including posting a record sales month in August 2021.
David shares the following advice and insights about how he helped other essential businesses during the pandemic and what he is doing now as more local businesses reopen and live events return to Columbia:
What do you attribute your growth to?
David Wallace: “I attribute our recent growth to everything kind of opening back up. There are more trade shows, businesses are resuming their usual activities including networking, and we have been using a combination of marketing strategies that include face-to-face interactions, internet marketing, radio advertising, and targeted direct mail.
“For example, at the beginning of the school year, we did a direct mail campaign to schools and administrations and we received a good deal of response from that. As more live events return, a lot of people are coming to us at the last minute for a wide variety of products and services including promotional products, wide format printing, posters, banners, booklets, programs, trade show booth displays, and business cards.
“Right now, there is so much excitement in our community with networking opportunities and events returning. Many of our clients are thrilled to have us design and print new stacks of business cards for them, and the overall positive sentiment is translating to an uptick in consumer behavior and sales.”
You remained open as an essential business during the pandemic. What was it like helping other local businesses over the past year and what are you excited about today as more and more businesses reopen and events come back?
David Wallace: “During the pandemic, we helped a lot of other essential businesses who were also remaining open. We wanted to differentiate ourselves so we made it a point to stay proactive. When we were making deliveries, if we saw handwritten signs on doors of restaurants, we would come back to our center and throw together a banner or poster, give it to those businesses, and they were so thankful for that. The response we received was so gratifying, and most of the time they would post on social media and share what we did. That really helped us make a positive impact and a lasting impression and we’ve gained some new repeat clients from those efforts.
“Another way we stood out was by providing graduation signs. We were promoting on social media and the local high school principal ended up ordering 340 printed yard signs, which helped us build more goodwill in the community.”
What advice do you give to clients who are ready reopen and ramp up their local outreach efforts?
David Wallace: “The advice we give to them is to keep marketing. We saw during the pandemic that the businesses who kept active the whole time had the most success. We educated our clients on Every Door Direct Mail and the value of reaching customers in their homes. That approach continues to resonate today.
“For example, if there was a home services business working in a certain neighborhood and they had their branding on their truck or van or other vehicle, we helped them create an EDDM campaign right in that same area, which created a great amount of success for them.”
How else have you been able to get your name out there?
David Wallace: “I really believe in following the Minuteman Press franchise system, which includes networking in addition to marketing. We do a lot with the local Boys & Girls Club and I am co-director of the Membership Committee of the local Chamber of Commerce. It’s worth the time to be involved in the community, I enjoy helping others, and I love helping welcome the new businesses that open in Columbia.”
How would you best describe your community?
David Wallace: “I would say Columbia can best be described as a ‘big small town.’ We have about 100,000 people who live here and we are also home to the University of Missouri. I encourage all of my clients to get out there and do the networking, to listen, to ask questions, and to be proactive.”
Why do you think printing remains so vital to businesses today?
David Wallace: “Print is vital because digital communications are so cluttered and often overlooked. If you send out or distribute a flyer or brochures that people can grab and have in their hands, you are creating a tangible connection. By comparison, an email can easily get lost or deleted without any viewing. Once something is in their hands, you have their attention. That’s the power of print, and you can still combine print with other marketing channels as well.
“When I go into a store or shop and someone tells me they really don’t print, I point out the items that are right in front of us. Stress balls, decals, packaging, etc. That really opens their eyes and then they ask if we can do these types of things for them. It also helps that we are local and so we are supporting each other by doing business with each other.”
What did you do before franchising?
David Wallace: “I worked for a mortgage company called Veterans United Home Loans as a Compliance Audit Manager. My wife Angie and I talked about starting our own business. We both had successful careers but we had a friend in Tampa who bought a lawn care company. Rather than waking up at 2 am and working on a project for my company, I decided I wanted to become my own boss and work for myself. I found a printing business for sale on a website called BizBuySell. It turned out to be Minuteman Press, and I decided to buy the established franchise in Columbia.”
What are the rewards of owning your own business?
David Wallace: “I would say it’s a combination of things. Everything I do now is to build the business that I run. I can bring my kids to the center and bring my family into the business. There’s improved quality of life (not being up at 2 am like my previous job) and flexibility.”
“One other thing that is very rewarding is that I have my employees’ backs and I like to treat them with the respect and appreciation they deserve. I want to see everybody thrive and I want them to feel like we are supporting them. In fact, one of the best compliments I’ve received from one of our customers is that he noticed that everyone who works here was happy. He told me to keep doing whatever we are doing, and that it made him feel comfortable doing business with us.”
What advice would you give to other local businesses right now?
David Wallace: “Simply get yourself out there. Local charities are a great way to do something for the community and get to know people. Little things add up, and the end result will be positive brand recognition while making a truly positive impact on your community.”