Jeff Wereley and Karen McArthur came from backgrounds in print production and farming/auto parts distribution. They have found Minuteman Press in Guelph, Ontario to be the perfect fit for the type of business they want to run and the lifestyle they want to live.
GUELPH, Ontario, Canada— Jeff Wereley and Karen McArthur own their Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise located at 930 Woodlawn Road West, Unit 17 in Guelph, Ontario. As Jeff and Karen celebrate one year in business together, Jeff is eager to share his insights on engaging with customers and being active in the community he has called home for 30 years. He also reflects on his experiences with Minuteman Press International, which has provided Jeff and Karen with comprehensive franchise training and ongoing local support, and explains why Minuteman Press in Guelph was the perfect fit.
Building the Business Right at Home
For 30 years, Jeff Wereley has lived in Guelph, Ontario. Today, he and Karen McArthur proudly serve the business community with essential and effective graphic design, printing, and marketing services. Jeff says, "We offer a full range of products from small run to large run printing. We currently do a monthly publication and work for the University and City of Guelph as well as numerous large and small companies in the area. At our Minuteman Press center, we handle everything from promotional items to business stationary to garments and apparel to marketing materials."
While Jeff had print production experience, Karen came into this business with a very different background. Jeff explains, "Prior to us owning this business, I ran the production for a medium size printing company and Karen worked at an auto parts distributor. I had worked for a few different printing companies over the last 20 years mostly running the production but I wanted to try it on my own. Karen comes from a farming background and fell in love with the Minuteman Press program after she attended the training with me. She came back, quit her job, and started working at the store."
Asked why he and Karen chose to own the Minuteman Press franchise in Guelph, Jeff answers, "When we started to think about running our own business, I had a few criteria. The first one was that the business had to be in Guelph as I have a lot of contacts in town both from my kid’s sports teams and from living here for 30 years. When we started talking to Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President Kevin Wittal about this franchise, he held nothing back and was completely honest and the other owners I met with had nothing but good things to say about the company. The other thing was unlike most franchises, the royalty structure is fair and we were allowed to use our own suppliers. We were not tied down to buying everything from a head office but we still had the buying power and savings that Minuteman Press International provided."
Jeff continues, "Another important reason we liked and chose Minuteman Press was the fact that they have a comprehensive business management software program called FLEX that helps us with everything from daily quoting and production, which makes it very easy for us to manage our franchise business operations on a day to day basis."
As much as Jeff Wereley and Karen McArthur enjoy the benefits of franchising with Minuteman Press, the rewards of owning a business have really put things in perspective for Jeff Wereley. He says, "The most rewarding thing for us is that we are building a future for us not for someone else. There is still the typical 'workplace stress' that any job has, but now the work we put in gratifying because we are helping our customers and building something for us. We also treat our employees like we always wanted to be treated – we value them and we make them part of the decision process on certain things."
Jeff also looks at the bigger picture and is already thinking of eventually passing the business down to his children. This is something that is not uncommon with Minuteman Press International as there are over 100 second-generation franchise owners in their system. Jeff points towards the future, saying, "Going forward, we are looking to continue to grow this business and allow us more financial freedom, and hopefully one of my kids will be involved in the business."
Giving Back + Running the Business with Ongoing Support
Jeff and Karen understand how important it is to be involved and give back to the community. Jeff explains, "As a member of the community, I think it’s very important to give something back. Our neighbors and colleagues are the people who help support us, and we feel we should return that goodwill. Currently, we help support the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph and are also involved with my kid's hockey teams."
A typical day at the Minuteman Press franchise in Guelph is centered on providing personalized customer service, high quality, and timely quotes and deliveries. Jeff notes, "When we get to the office, our team pitches in to get the most urgent products done and ready for pickup or delivery. We love talking to our clients, assessing their needs, and helping them in any way we can. We also make deliveries and sales calls, answer emails, and make sure everyone is satisfied with our products and our service.
The local ongoing support that Jeff and Karen receive from Minuteman Press International also helps them stay focused on providing outstanding quality and service while building their business. Jeff states, "The ongoing support we have received from Minuteman Press has been nothing short of incredible. Both Kevin Wittal and our field representative Darwin Caswell have been huge assets both as a sounding board and helping us get up and running. For example, shortly after we joined the business, our graphic designer went away on a week's vacation. Darwin came in every day to help make things go smoothly with no issues."
The reassurance that Jeff and Karen have thanks to Minuteman Press is a huge weight lifted off of their shoulders. Jeff says, "I can call Kevin or Darwin at any time of the day and if they don’t answer, I always get a call back in a very short amount of time. They are always a huge help."
Ideal Day Off + What's Next?
While Jeff and Karen are working hard to sustain the momentum they have gained over the past year, they understand the importance of taking a day or two on the weekends to relax away from their business. Jeff says, "Our ideal day off is taking drives in the country and relaxing on the porch. We live in a very small community and we enjoy the quiet of country living without the sound of a city. It's nice to be able to have our business and our time to unwind."
As for what's next for Minuteman Press in Guelph, Jeff and Karen are looking at solidifying their finishing and apparel capabilities. Jeff elaborates, "As the business grows, we are looking at building up our in-house bindery capability to handle larger projects in-house. We are also looking into expanding our garment and apparel business by bringing this in-house as well."
Jeff's parting words of advice to other aspiring business or franchise owners is this: "I think the biggest piece of advice we can offer would be follow your dreams. Don’t look back and think to yourself 'I wish we would have tried that.' You only have one life, so find out what you're passionate about and go for it!"
Jeff Wereley and Karen McArthur's Minuteman Press franchise is located at 930 Woodlawn Road West, Unit 17, Guelph, ON N1K 1T2, Canada. For more information, call 226-706-1523 or visit their website: www.minutemanpress.ca/print-shop/guelph