Brad Ray and Alison Jack-Ray worked in the newspaper industry and are now celebrating three years as Minuteman Press printing franchise owners. When Brad left The Edmonton Sun after a 26-year career, they weighed their career options, did their research, and decided Minuteman Press was the smartest decision for them.
EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada - Husband and wife franchise owners Brad Ray and Alison Jack-Ray are proud to celebrate three years in business as Minuteman Press printing franchise owners. Their full-service graphic design, marketing, and printing centre has moved to their new facility located at 4752 - 76 Avenue in Edmonton (Edmonton East).
Career Crossroads to Minuteman Press
Brad Ray and Alison Jack-Ray both previously worked in the newspaper industry on the production side, and Alison also had experience in customer service. Starting in 2013, they found themselves at a crossroads in their careers. Brad explains, "In January of 2013 I was offered a buyout ending my 26-year newspaper career with The Edmonton Sun. After a few months of pondering my next move I decided to upgrade in my college field of choice, Civil Engineering. I was frustrated with the opportunities and pay offered when looking for a position in that field. As a result, Alison and I discussed several business opportunities and felt owning a printing franchise was our smartest choice. Alison searched printing businesses for sale in Edmonton online. There were two available. I researched both."
Why buy a Minuteman Press franchise? For Brad Ray, it was all about the prompt response and personal attention he received from Neil MacLeod, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for Western Canada. Brad states, "It was Neil Macleod getting back to me quickly coupled with him taking me to two local Minuteman Press centres for a tour that helped persuade us. I met with three local Minuteman Press owners who all had and still have successful centres today. The Minuteman Press franchise offers a well-known brand, which was appealing. Attending their comprehensive two-week franchise training program in Farmingdale, New York was also a key in making our decision as well."
Personalized Customer Service + High Quality Products + Fast Turnaround = How to Grow a Printing Franchise
For three years and counting, Brad and Alison have served their business community in Edmonton East well by focusing their efforts on providing personalized customer service and high quality products and services that Minuteman Press offers. Brad explains, "Personal care and excellent customer service are what we are all about. We work one on one with our customers to provide quality work at a reasonable price with exceptionally quick turnaround times. We are a one-stop print centre where our customers can receive all their printing needs from business cards to signage and more."
Brad and Alison are clearly passionate about what they do for their clients, and their hard work in following the Minuteman Press franchise system has helped them build their business. Brad says, "Running a business is a life altering decision. We have never worked so hard at anything in our entire lives and we have always been hard workers. That being said, we are proud of our accomplishments. We took a successful business, built on that and made it better by reaching new goals monthly. We don't regret the decision for one minute. The reason is simple. What you put into your business is what you get out of it."
Ongoing Local Support and Giving Back to the Community
For Brad and Alison, the franchise training and ongoing local support programs put in place by Minuteman Press International have helped them tremendously. In addition to the support from Neil MacLeod and local field representative Philip Ramsankar, Brad also praises the team effort mentality that his fellow franchisees have demonstrated as well. Brad says, "Early support and mentoring from Trevor and Dan (two other Minuteman Press franchise owners) was vital in the first year of the business. Phil, our local field representative, has been fantastic. This has made us feel more connected to the Minuteman Press franchise. He is a big support to us, especially during our recent relocation to the new facility."
One other aspect of owning a business that Brad and Alison have really taken to heart is getting involved and giving back to the community. Brad credits being introduced to his local BNI networking group as a huge benefit that has helped him build his client base. He explains, "BNI counts for approximately 20% of our total business. Referrals are an integral part of new client additions. Along with referrals, the relationships gained through referral networking are priceless."
Brad adds, "Alison and I are also very passionate about the non-profit charities we support in the community. They include: Special Olympics Alberta, Chrysalis, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and Shiloh Youth Ranch. We also donate monthly to Operation Smile."
Typical Day for Brad and Alison
After three years in business, a typical day for Brad and Alison begins at 8:30 am. On the way to work, they have discussions about short-term and long-term goals for the business. When they are in the office, Brad and Alison hold their staff meeting to set their priorities for the day. During the day, Brad works to build those important relationships with clients and follows up with them while also streamlining workflow. Alison manages the office, oversees promotional products orders, and has also been training a new employee who will be in charge of producing signs for clients. Large format printing is another one of Minuteman Press' growing areas of expertise.
When they are not working on the business, Brad says, "We escape to the mountains twice a year. Jasper and Banff are the perfect getaways and battery rechargers for both of us."
Business Goals and Advice for Others
With three years in business and their move to a new location completed, Brad and Alison are focused on keeping their momentum going strong. Brad says, "One of our immediate goals we have is to hire a part-time employee once our newest member of the team is fully trained. We want to improve our time management processes, increase sales by 10% and improve sales on the promotional products side of the business. In June of this year, our shop reached a milestone eclipsing the $100,000 plateau in sales for a 1-month period."
When asked about his advice for others, Brad answers, "I recommend joining a local BNI chapter or networking group in your area. If you own a franchise, reach out to more than one local franchisee and build a trusting relationship with them. Mentoring is key. Be prepared to work hard and put in the hours when needed."
Brad Ray and Alison Jack-Ray's Minuteman Press franchise is located at 4752 - 76 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T6B 0A5. For more information, call Brad and Alison at (780) 462-5900 or visit their website: http://www.edmonton13.minutemanpress.ca