LEXINGTON, Ky. - For over 25 years, Brian and Betsy Davis have owned the Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise located at 2408 Merchant Street in Lexington. To celebrate their impressive tenure and longevity as business owners, Betsy and Brian have received the Crystal Pinnacle Award by Minuteman Press International.
Betsy Davis reflects on this huge accomplishment, saying, "We would like to thank everyone at Minuteman Press International for this award. It's been a long ride, but we built the business from a small 'Mom and Pop' shop into a competitive, thriving, full-service print center. At the same time, we raised two responsible young adults, who learned through observation as well as actually working for us, what it takes to manage a business, and to be successful."
When they step into Brian and Betsy's Minuteman Press center, customers are greeted by experienced professionals who know what they are doing and are there to help other businesses grow. Betsy and Brian explain, "We offer a full range of printing and marketing services at reasonable prices. This includes stationery, forms, annual reports, brochures, neighborhood newsletters, and mailings. We provide products and services for weddings and corporate events, including signage, pens, apparel, mugs, and more. We'll work with you to get you what you want and need for your business to grow, and help you with personal events as well."
Customer Satisfaction and Building the Business in the Community
As much as they are proud of running a successful printing franchise for over 25 years, Betsy and Brian find the most satisfaction in helping their customers as well as their community. Betsy says, "In 25-plus years we've done some printing for almost all of the charitable organizations in town! We've done innumerable projects for the Salvation Army and Ronald McDonald House since 1991. We printed for the predecessor of the HOPE Center before it even became the HOPE Center, and to this day, produce and mail their newsletters, and so much more. We count over 100 churches among our customers, as well as many more non-profits. We support them all through our pricing, buying ads, donations, and bringing friends to their fundraising events. Giving back is being a part of the community."
She continues, "We've printed for six area Universities, including an award-winning letterhead for Transylvania University. We worked with two Universities to develop true watermarks for their stationery. A real watermark is an image actually embedded in the fibers of the paper itself as it is manufactured; not just printed on. We print for public and private schools K-12, and I enjoy creating 'teacher's boxes' for them as well. They've contained cardstock scrap perfect for flashcards, colored paper pieces to make collages, larger leftover sheets that make for more creative drawing, and cover bulletin boards. Teachers are, by necessity, very creative people, and we have always strived to recycle and re-use materials where possible."
For being so thoughtful and considerate and thanks to the wide variety of products and services they provide to their clients, Brian and Betsy have really enjoyed their time as Minuteman Press franchise owners. Brian and Betsy elaborate, saying, "The rewards have come in many forms. We enjoy the lovely hand-written notes, and Brian particularly enjoys the home-baked goodies! Equally rewarding was the genuine appreciation and continued relationship of the young lady who once came through our door in tears. Another printer who had held her work for two weeks couldn't run her programs in time for their national convention. The timetable was really tight at this point, but she had to have them, and was forever grateful when we came through for her."
They continue, "Then in 2010, Lexington had the honor of hosting the FEI World Equestrian Games, the international equine version of the Olympics. As one of the Shah's entourage arrived, they found that their introductory materials had not been shipped in time. We quickly found viable options to serve their purposes and continued to print for them for the duration of the games. We were pleased to be invited to their opening reception, where we met the FEI President, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. These are the moments that make us so proud to do what we do."
Diverse Backgrounds in Art and Manufacturing Lead to Minuteman Press
Prior to franchising with Minuteman Press, Betsy and Brian Davis came from two different backgrounds in art and manufacturing. Betsy says, "I earned a degree in art from Western Kentucky University, and spent several years in advertising agencies. The knowledge of the technical side of print and design I acquired in those positions was invaluable to us. We were ready for a change after Brian's 20 years in manufacturing with GTE. Printing was of particular interest because even in a downturn, every office needs print, and it's even more crucial to be advertising at that point. The short cash conversion cycle was an enormous benefit to a small business growing rapidly!"
Why Minuteman Press? Betsy answers, "We never would have made it without the franchise support. Minuteman International negotiates special pricing for so much of our equipment and supplies. Training has always been available on all manner of equipment, and on handling various operations. Regional field representatives have even pitched in when we suddenly lost an employee due to illness, etc."
"Betsy and Brian Davis have been an absolute pleasure to work with and support over these past 25 years and counting," says Gary Nowak, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan. He adds, "The high level of customer service they provide to their clients, their work ethic, and their compassion for the community they serve make them exemplary Minuteman Press franchise owners."
Changes to the Industry and the Emergence of Digital Printing Technology
Since they started running their Minuteman Press franchise in 1991, Betsy and Brian Davis have seen their share of changes to the printing business. Luckily, Minuteman Press International has embraced these changes such as digital printing and has emerged as today's leaders of the modern printing industry. Brian and Betsy explain, "The technology has changed dramatically since 1991. Paper plates, metal plates and darkrooms have all been replaced by economical polyester plates and electronic files. Files can be sent to make plates or directly to the digital printer, all of which makes color work quite affordable. We still run on offset presses for economy of scale, but an increasing amount is done digitally. The result is high-quality, colorful brochures, newsletters, manuals, etc. The choice of which machine is always dependent on what is the most economical, while maintaining the quality we require."
Looking forward, Brian and Betsy are ready to embrace the latest products, services, and innovations made available by Minuteman Press International. They say, "We will continue to evaluate the opportunities to expand our business and advances in technologies, and introduce them to our customers. The Minuteman Press franchise has offered more opportunities than any single location can take advantage of and we are continually evaluating, re-evaluating and incorporating them into our business model."
Their parting words of advice to others who are thinking of owning their own business or franchise is this: "Know your strengths and utilize the best of what each member of your team has to offer. Work for your customers. And communicate with your franchise representatives and other owners. They have decades of acquired knowledge and experience to share!"