Don Krieger became a Minuteman Press franchise owner in Napa, CA in 1993 and is now celebrating 24 years in business. His daughter Leigh used to help out on summer breaks when she was younger, and she officially joined the business eight years ago. Don and Leigh share their insights on working together, what they've learned from each other, and how to run a successful family business.
NAPA, Calif. - Together, father-daughter duo Don and Leigh Krieger run the Minuteman Press franchise in Napa, CA, which is celebrating 24 years in business. Minuteman Press is the world's largest design, print, and marketing franchise, offering essential products and innovative branding solutions to today's business professionals.
"It’s been terrific working with Leigh and watching her growth," says Don, who remembers when Leigh would help out the family business during summer breaks. He adds, "It’s a proud day when you can turn over the reins of the business to one of your children. Even though I’ve always stressed customer service, Leigh has taught me how to go the extra mile for the customer."
Career before Franchising and Choosing Minuteman Press
Customer service has been a hallmark of Don Krieger's career. Before franchising with Minuteman Press in 1993, Don worked in the wholesale shoe business, where he was responsible for marketing and sales. Prior to that, Don worked for retail giant Saks Fifth Avenue, where he was involved in opening up new stores in the U.S. Don says, "Working in both of these industries taught me how to provide outstanding customer service and the importance of doing right by the customers. It also taught me display and presentation as well as budgeting and planning."
The customer service, sales, and marketing skills that Don acquired in his professional career would prove valuable to accomplishing his ultimate goal: to own a business. Don explains, "I always wanted to open my own business. I went to a franchise show with a friend who was looking at buying a franchise. I met Jim Martin from Minuteman Press and things just clicked. I felt that the brand name, the support they promised and the training made it a pretty easy decision."
Don adds, "Over the past 24 years, Minuteman Press has always been there to support us, everything from offering vendor suggestions to providing help with hiring and training staff when needed. If you need technical support, they are one phone call away."
Like Father Like Daughter: Leigh Joins the Business
Before officially teaming up with Don and joining the business eight years ago, Leigh Krieger worked for a promotion company and also worked with two NBA teams in sales as well as community foundations. Like her father before her, Leigh was able to take these professional experiences and apply similar skills towards business ownership.
Today, as a second-generation member of the Minuteman Press franchise family, Leigh offers a unique perspective of the business. She has seen the family business grow over the years, and today she works to continue to drive that growth. "It has been a great experience," says Leigh about working with her father. "I have had someone who knows the community and business to teach me the ins and outs of the printing and promotional business. It has really been beneficial. I have had someone to mentor me how to run a successful business."
Most Rewarding Thing about Running a Family Franchise Business
For Don Krieger, there is no question that after running a successful Minuteman Press franchise for 24 years, the most rewarding thing is that the business will be in the capable hands of his daughter. Don says, "Being able to turn the business over to the next generation is a wonderful feeling. The joy of seeing how well Leigh has done at running the day to day operations is terrific. To know Minuteman Press in Napa will be in business for many more decades gives me the ultimate satisfaction."
Giving Back to the Community
To be in business for 24 years means that the business owners have successfully made inroads in the community and have had a positive impact. Don and Leigh Krieger do their part, as Don says, "Leigh and I are very involved in the community and the community supports us for it. We are members of Kiwanis, Masonic Lodge, Soroptomist Women's Organization, the Chamber of Commerce, Welcome Center and Napa City-County Library Foundation. It is important to give back to the community as well as be involved in networking groups that are really helpful in marketing your business."
"Don and Leigh Krieger are valuable assets to the Napa community as well as the Minuteman Press franchise system worldwide," adds Bob Ylinen, Minuteman Press Regional Vice President for Northern California. "They have proven to be exemplary business owners who really do care about their customers and the community they serve."
Business Goals and Advice for Others
Don and Leigh Krieger have a new goal for their business this year. Don says, "We want to hire a salesperson so that we can hit our ultimate goal of $1 million in sales. We also plan on doing more marketing and advertising."
After 24 years, the biggest lesson Don Krieger has learned is that the buck stops with the business owner: "I learned that if you want certain things done you have to do them yourself (i.e. cleaning windows, bathrooms, etc.). You don’t have the personnel you have working for big corporations. You don’t have the politics and bureaucracy of big corporations. The buck stops with you. You make the decisions, not your boss. You don’t have a boss. It’s nice to decide how much you make – the more marketing you do, the more money you make, and you control your expenses."
Don's final piece of advice for others is this: "You must market your business. Be and extrovert and be able to get out of the shop. Having a family business makes it easier so that one member is the inside person and one is the outside, but you have to get out there and do it."