Minuteman Press in Lebanon, Ohio, has been sold by retiring owners Mike and Karen Geygan to new owners Frank and Melissa Hiti. The longtime design, marketing, and printing center has been operating for over forty years, and Mike and Karen are retiring after owning the business for over thirty-one years. All of the staff have been retained and will keep working to serve Minuteman Press clients in the community. Minuteman Press in Lebanon is located at 101 Dave Avenue, Suite E, Lebanon, OH 45036.
New owner Frank Hiti says, “We are really excited to take over a business that has such an outstanding reputation in the community. As business buyers, we are blown away by the strong foundation that Mike and Karen Geygan built with Minuteman Press in Lebanon. This business is a well-oiled machine thanks to their hard work. Everyone has been so welcoming to us as new owners, and we will continue the path that Mike and Karen set by being a fixture in our community and make sure our business takes care of our customers.”
“I am an engineer by trade, with a business degree. I spent my entire career in automotive manufacturing doing sales, engineering, project management, and procurement. I climbed the ladder but I always had that desire to be an entrepreneur.”
Frank says that he felt he was in a good position to find the right opportunity and the right business to purchase. “Everything I’ve experienced in the last few weeks since purchasing Minuteman Press has been even better than I expected,” he says. “The support has been phenomenal from our local field rep Ryan. Our team here in Lebanon is simply fantastic, and it’s so much easier to hit the ground running thanks to the strong customer relationships that Mike and Karen Geygan built.
“They earned their retirement and it’s been a win-win situation all-around.”
History of the Business
When Mike and Karen Geygan first purchased an existing Minuteman Press franchise in April of 1991, they took over a business that needed some work.
Mike reflects, “We bought a twelve-year-old shop and we needed to upgrade our equipment and clean things up, so that’s what we did. We liked the business model and the industry, and I really wanted to be involved in my community.
“Lebanon, Ohio is a rural town, and it just seemed like a unique place to own a business.”
At the time, Mike worked in industrial sales and he liked that Minuteman Press wanted to him “to focus on running the business, not running a press.”
“We looked at small businesses, other franchises, and another printing business,” continues Mike. “With printing, I liked that I would be selling to customers who could become repeat clients and order more from us. I also found the business hours and employee structure to be appealing, and with Minuteman Press, the royalty cap was a huge plus.”
Another thing that really stands out to Mike after thirty-one-plus years is the fact that he has always been able to run his business in a rural town like Lebanon in the way he wanted that best fit his community.
“I always liked that Minuteman Press was hands-off in the sense that we could do what we needed for our business,” he says. “We can do what works for us in our marketplace and go in the directions we want to go with our products and services as well as our pricing. They never asked me to charge $5.99 for a Big Mac because that’s what New York is charging.”
Mike also credits his wife Karen Geygan for really solidifying the business from the financial side of things. “Karen worked on the financial side of the business and made sure everything was handled in that area. Her contributions over the years have been invaluable to our bottom line,” he says.
Growing to a Million-Dollar Business
From 1991 to 1998, Mike, his wife Karen, and his staff were able to steadily build the business.
They first joined the President’s Million-Dollar Circle in 1998 and they continued to hit that impressive milestone every year for the next 24 years (with the exception of 2020).
Mike shares, “The biggest thing for us early on was growing through word of mouth referrals. At that time, I found that most printing companies in our area were not ‘good printers’ in the sense that their quality wasn’t great and they didn’t meet deadlines. We stepped in with printing that looked better and was always on time, and as a result we developed an extremely good reputation.
“We grew significantly based on those two key areas of quality and service. After thirty-one years, I can’t think of one customer that we lost because we dropped the ball. It’s all about communication. We talk to our customers, and we are honest with them. If we need to fix something or deliver on a tight deadline, we find a way to get it done.”
Mike has found that the shops that are the most successful operate with a sense of urgency. “You have to be proactive,” he says. “If a job needs to be delivered Friday, get it done early in case a machine goes down, paper or supplies don’t show up, or an employee is out unexpectedly.
“Don’t wait until Friday morning. The quicker you know something is wrong, the easier it is to find a solution. That is what’s always worked for us.”
Today, Minuteman Press in Lebanon is a digital print shop with six full-time staff and two part-time staff
Mike shares, “We specialize in digital printing and do a good amount of mailings. We are in a rural town and so we do a lot of saturation mail for local school districts and other clients such as a large HVAC company and an addiction treatment facility. We also saw that during the pandemic, our community needed products such as large format printing, labels, posters, and signage.”
Speaking of the pandemic, Mike says, “We were fortunate enough to be cushioned from serious impacts in 2020. In 2021, we found ourselves back at 2019 levels, and in 2022, we were up 20 percent over 2021 sales.”
With new ownership coming in, Mike sees ripe opportunity for growth. “We have a nice foundation in place but I also see room for growth in wide format, apparel, and automation mailing,” he share. “There are a lot of studies that show print is more effective than other forms of marketing. I think it’s important to mix in different ways of marketing and use print, internet, and social media channels.”
Selling the Business
When asked what it was like to work with Minuteman Press International to sell the business and secure his exit strategy, Mike shares, “I first had the thought of selling in March of 2022. I was turning sixty-three in July, and I mentioned to my Regional VP Gary Nowak that we were starting to think about selling the business. My original intent was to retire by sixty-five, and conventional wisdom told me that it would take some time to complete the sale. We were not intending to sell this year and weren’t ready to actually list the business for sale.”
“Gary informed me in early July that he had potential buyers who he was already in contact with, and I figured there was no harm in meeting with them. As it turned out, the meeting with the buyers went well, and we ended up getting an offer fairly quickly. By September, the agreement was signed, and the sale was completed in November of 2022.”
Mike shares the following three keys to selling a business:
- Have clean financials. “It’s important to be properly prepared for any questions and document requests, and to know your numbers.”
- Run a solid business and invest wisely. “My dad was a financial planner, so in addition to running our business, we took care of ourselves on the personal investment side. That really adds up over the years, so be smart about how you invest and start early.”
- A business where the owner is doing everything is worth less to buyers. “The company needs to be transferrable to new ownership. Delegate responsibilities to your team, and cross-train your employees. The more they know, the more valuable your business will be at the time of the sale.”
Final Reflections & Advice for Others
As Mike and Karen transition to retirement, he reflects on what he’ll miss most.
“Everybody says it’s the people that make the business, and that’s so true,” says Mike. “We love our customers and our employees; they are like family to us. I also love being involved in the community and served on many local boards. Because we deal with such a broad variety of customers and organizations in the printing business, I was one of the people who knew everyone and so everyone would come to me. I simply loved being able to help and connect others.”
“Our customers are happy for us, and I am very impressed with our local Minuteman Press field representative Ryan McIntyre who is helping with the transition, as well as the new owners Frank and Melissa Hiti. I know the business is being left in great hands.”
Mike’s final piece of advice for others is this: “There are three functions that have to happen in order to be successful: (1.) Find the business; (2.) Get the jobs out on time; and (3.) Get customers to pay for your products and services. When you are small and just starting out, these functions may fall to the owner. However, if you want to grow, you need to delegate responsibilities and develop a company, not a monument to the owner. Remember, it’s a team effort.”