ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia, Canada – Kerri and Mark Brandon are the owners of the Minuteman Press printing franchise in Abbotsford located at 34220 South Fraser Way, Unit #5. They have owned their business since May 2013 and remained open as an essential business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kerri and Mark share their own personal experiences in operating and growing Minuteman Press in Abbotsford, BC over the past eight years. They also provide their key business growth strategies that have enabled them – as well as their clients – to successfully adapt and pivot in 2021 as they look forward to 2022.
Welcome to Abbotsford
Kerri Brandon eloquently describes Abbotsford as “a very tight-knit, loyal, and hardworking community built on the resilient farming industry. As such, our customers value relationships and personalized service. They have come to appreciate our quality products and quick turnaround times and of course, our free contactless delivery.”
She continues, “Abbotsford’s business community is fiercely committed to supporting local businesses, which in turn has really made this community thrive despite the challenges of the pandemic. Through the Bounce Back Canada program, we were able to offer a free platform to promote, and encourage our community to support local businesses. Today, that local support remains strong as we all are in this together.”
Supporting Local Businesses
Throughout the pandemic and moving forward into 2022, Kerri shares how important it has been for members of the community to support local businesses like Minuteman Press. She says, “Our clients and community have been amazing. Because we remained open, we were able to keep our connection to them uninterrupted and they have come to know that we are there to help, no matter the request. We made a concerted effort to keep the lines of communication open through email and by telephone during those times that we could not connect in person.”
She continues, “I think because choices became somewhat limited during the lockdown phase of the pandemic and our efforts to step up our marketing, we were able to better capture the focus of our current clients and the community as a whole to inform them of the full range of products and services we are able to offer.”
“We were very thankful to be able to remain open and serve our community as an essential business. The fact that we were forced to think outside the box and pivot to move into new areas enabled us to help our customers in ways that kept them (and us) safe and moving forward. We are excited to help our clients who are ready to ramp things up get back on their feet and rebuild their momentum.” -Kerri Brandon, co-owner, Minuteman Press, Abbotsford, BC
High-Demand Products Spark Growth
For Kerri and Mark, one of the biggest keys to their growth is the ability to adapt their products and services to meet their clients’ needs. Kerri says, “At the beginning of the pandemic, there was high demand for items such as floor decals, face masks and custom plexiglass barriers. So much so that it was hard to keep up with the demand.”
As for today, Kerri shares, “Currently, direct mail has provided a great way for our clients to communicate with their customers and reintroduce themselves back into the marketplace. However, the largest demand has been for large format signage and decals. This can be attributed to our increased focus on marketing in various different ways over the past year.”
Being in business for over eight years as well as being part of the Minuteman Press franchise family enabled Kerri and Mark to provide a wide variety of products and services. Kerri says, “Since taking over our business over eight years ago, we have definitely expanded our product lines with large format printing and dye sublimation. We were extremely thankful to have had these in place prior to the pandemic as they were crucial to being able to service the community’s high demand for dye-sublimated and heat-pressed face masks, floor decals, signage, and banners. We were even able to source out and supply custom plexiglass barriers.”
She adds, “We also took advantage of the Lumpy Mail program developed by Minuteman Press International and landed some very lucrative accounts by simply reaching out with a phone call and following that up with some personalized goods, which translated into multiple orders.”
Kerri also credits internet marketing and community networking for increasing local awareness of her business. She explains, “As previously mentioned, we stepped up our email marketing to keep in touch with our customers every step of the way. Being that everything moved online, we were sure to keep up our marketing using Minuteman Press International’s internet marketing program.”
“In addition, we were lucky enough to be members of BNI during this time which, through the power of Zoom, helped maintain our visibility and build credibility in the business community. Networking like this gave us the opportunity to introduce our new ideas and products and easily share them with the other members of our chapter.”
Cross Media Marketing
Cross media marketing is powerful because it allows print and digital channels to work together and create a consistent brand message while reaching clients across multiple points of contact. Kerri says, “Communication is vital in business and we offer multiple avenues to make this happen. This was made even more evident over the past year as our customers looked for ways to communicate with their customers at a time when being in person was not a possibility. As a business, being able to provide this vital service to our clients through direct marketing was an invaluable asset.”
She adds, “As we move forward and more businesses and events return, we have been able to help our customers with items including signage and banners, laminated or single use menus, scannable printed QR codes that link to menus or relevant websites, and custom pop-up tents. All of these items work together to provide a cohesive message across all touchpoints as well as increased brand awareness and visibility.”
Becoming Business Owners
Kerri and Mark bought their printing business in May 2013. Kerri shares, “Neither of us had a print background when we bought our Minuteman Press franchise. Mark had been an operations manager for a car rental company for 20-plus years and I had an extensive background in customer service and administration.”
She continues, “We had always wanted to own our own business one day and when we attended a franchise show in 2012, we were approached by Western Canada Regional Vice President Neil MacLeod. Neil welcomed us to the Minuteman Press booth and said, ‘Even if you decide not to buy a franchise from us, maybe we can win your future printing business.’ After looking into many different business opportunities, the treatment we received from the Neil and the Minuteman Press team made us feel like we would be joining a supportive and reliable franchise and thus our decision was made.”
Kerri and Mark credit Minuteman Press for providing crucial communications and support throughout the pandemic. “In the early days of the pandemic, the support was essential in helping us to maintain a positive attitude and keep moving forward. We ourselves took a proactive stance and we were so thankful to see that they were actively working to support their franchisees.”
Kerri adds, “As the pandemic rolled along, we had several check-ins from our field rep Ray Leung advising us to take advantage of first the Bounce Back Canada program and then the Lumpy Mail campaign. Both of these encouraged us to actively reach out to our customers, the latter of which turned out to be very successful for us. In addition, we truly appreciated the constant communication from Nick Titus (President, Minuteman Press International) offering support and positive updates that included suggestions of what was successful for other owners.”
Rewards of Owning a Business
When asked about the rewards of owning their business, Kerri answers, “On the personal side, my biggest reward is being able to experience a client’s gratitude when helping them complete a project from start to finish, especially when they have been told ‘no’ somewhere else.”
Mark shares, “For me, it would be the sense of accomplishment of taking what was an underperforming location when we took it over and turning it into a strong, thriving, successful business.”
He continues, “Professionally, both of us pride ourselves on the level of customer service we are able to provide. We strive to do whatever we can to ensure our customers have a great experience when dealing with us, and on the occasion that they don’t, we are sure to do everything within our power make it right. We are rewarded every time we receive that 5-star Google review and are proud of our 4.7 rating which we have actively worked to achieve. We were especially proud when being recognized by Minuteman Press International with their Achievement in Customer Service Award.”
As for what advice Kerri and Mark would give to other business owners at this critical time heading into 2022, their answer is simple. “Market. Market. Market! Even when trying to control your expenses, don’t skimp out on marketing. Traditionally, this is the first thing to go when the need arises to cut back on spending, however, marketing keeps you top of mind over your competitors and you never know where your next big client might come from.”
For more information on Minuteman Press in Abbotsford, British Columbia, visit https://minuteman.com/ca/locations/bc/abbotsford.
Learn more about Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at https://minutemanpressfranchise.ca.