Cary & Raleigh, N.C. – Describing the performance of his International Minute Press franchise in Cary last year, Neal Sugarman says, “We were steadily growing each year in what was just our fourth year in business.” Since printing is an essential business and Neal is dedicated to his clients and his community, he did not let COVID-19 get in the way of his determination. Instead, he adapted his products and services, reinforced his marketing strategies, and thrived as a result.
Neal explains, “All of a sudden, here we have this pandemic and relative to what we have been doing, our day-to-day operations were profoundly different. The phones and emails became strangely quiet, but we did not. We went to work, spending time on renewed marketing programs, keeping our staff safe and employed. We implemented four years’ worth of marketing ideas because we finally had the time to focus on them.”
Neal and his team brought new life into a business community fraught with new challenges. “We created avenues for revenue using health and safety signage, floor graphics and other design and printed tools to help get our clients into a position to keep making money.”
International Minute Press in Cary adapted their business to fit the needs of clients during the pandemic and it worked. “Most of our payments were made online (instead of in our storefront) and we delivered products based on the guidelines and our customers’ comfort levels. We would regularly come out curbside and load their vehicles or leave completed projects out for them, carefully, if they wished. We made sure every interaction was a good one for everyone.”
“I revised our website, upped our social media game and increased Google AdWords activity within the first few weeks. This allowed faster, easier ways to connect with everyone and we got busier because of it. Orders came in from hotels and restaurants, but also from new people responding to our new marketing efforts. We got busier from all of it.” – Neal Sugarman, owner, International Minute Press franchise, Cary NC
Neal reflects, “Our business shifted for the better in the past few months and part of that growth was people realizing exactly how much we can provide. Some people didn’t know we could provide signage at this level, for instance. As they became aware, the sign business helped keep us above where we were last year.”
“We also wanted to help our customers and local community who were suffering from the pandemic,” he adds.
The team decided to print a lot of yard signs for restaurants that allowed them to tell customers they were open for business. “We gave out over 100 “Open Curbside” signs to area restaurants, free of charge. It’s a really cool thing to drive around town today and see all of these signs still being used six months later!”
Neal and his staff reached out to the community in a variety of ways and their focus on community service became part of their business model. “We definitely increased our community service partly because we had more time and mostly because we wanted to give back to a community that has been so generous to us. We are involved with a non-profit called Dorcas Ministries, who runs the only food pantry in Cary (and we have a population of 175,000). The pandemic increased demand on the pantry supplies and we wanted to help. We printed and sold #CaryStrong signs for them and raised almost $400 for the pantry.”
“In our community, we support one another. We used any extra time caused by quarantine in the beginning to do things to help our local area.” – Neal Sugarman
Donating time and services has become a winning situation as Cary bounces back. A sense of gratitude is present. “We upped our game through diversifying into community service activities as part of our day-to-day marketing. Yes, it is good for business; but what matters to us is that our work is good for our community and makes us better citizens now, more than ever.”
Neal reflects on this unprecedented time and how his business has been able to grow during COVID-19. He says, “The combined effect of helping support local business and doing a lot ourselves within the community has helped our business, too.”
For more information on International Minute Press in Cary, visit https://www.cary.intlminutepress.com. Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press International franchise opportunities at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com.