Frederick, Md. – Minuteman Press International is proud to welcome John Prinkey and Kate Cusato as the new owners of the established Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise located at 917A West 7th Street in Frederick, Maryland. John says, "Kate and I completed our franchise training at Minuteman Press headquarters in Farmingdale, NY in October 2017 and were up and running the first week of November. We were fortunate to have purchased an existing location that had been family run for 30 years and well cared for."
Together, John and Kate are a dynamic father-daughter franchise duo; they help other businesses grow and provide a positive workplace culture for their employees and each other. Kate says, "Working with my dad has really been a dream come true. My parents were always supportive and kind and I am very lucky."
Kate continues, "To be able to hang out with my dad all day and experience business ownership together has been great. Knowing that we only want what is best for the business and each other makes things far less stressful. Plus, it’s a blast! When you first meet him, he can be a little quiet but he is absolutely hilarious and we have a very good time. A day at Minuteman Press doesn’t feel like a day at work. My dad is also an incredibly smart guy. He’s always teaching me new things. He does loads of research, has lots of good stories and can build/assemble just about anything so I am always picking his brain and learning something new."
John also reflects on working with his daughter to build their Minuteman Press business, saying, "Kate has always been a fun person to be around. She has a very outgoing, caring and inclusive personality. Her dynamism is not only perfectly suited for the marketing component of the business, but she makes the workplace a happy, social environment not only for our staff of 4, but also for customers that come in."
Already, John and Kate are feeling gratified by their decision to make the transition from their previous professional careers to owning their Minuteman Press franchise. Kate says, "The most rewarding thing for me is knowing that we are building a business for our family and that we are doing so together. I also find it rewarding to bring life to our customers' visions. Typically, Minuteman clients are small business owners and artists. They have dreams of success and know they need to get their name out into the community. Whether they need flyers, business cards or promotional products and marketing materials, print is an important part of that."
For his part, John says, "We also wanted to create a place that we all enjoy coming to work at and that everyone working here can be happy and successful. It helps us get through the inevitable crunch times where teamwork is how we succeed."
John and Kate Make a Positive Difference in Frederick
As they work to build on the solid foundation they have through buying an established business, John and Kate have already developed strong relationships with their customers and their community. Kate says, "We are a full-service design, print and promotional company located in the heart of Frederick, Maryland. We like to cover all aspects of the commercial print industry and can create everything from flyers, business cards, booklets and printed envelopes to promotional items, apparel signage and banners. We do this with the care and attention you would expect from a family-run business. We also work closely with the USPS to offer mailing services such as Direct Mail and Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) to assist our customers in reaching new and existing clients."
John adds, "The number one thing we offer our customers is personalized service! We gauge our success on our customers' success. A recurring theme is that most customers have tried other printing services, including lower cost online options, but the feedback we receive after we’ve helped them with their project is always positive. We keep in mind that our customers can be under quite a bit of pressure, due to time constraints as well as the quality of what they produce. It’s very rewarding to see their reactions when we deliver something that exceeds their expectations."
In addition to the wide variety of printing, marketing, and mailing services that their Minuteman Press franchise can provide, John and Kate are also very active in the community. Kate says, "We are members of the Chamber of Commerce and have found that organization to be unbelievable helpful. They have a monthly business card exchange that always has over 150 local business owners in attendance. We have already made several connections through the Chamber that have turned into regular customers."
She adds, "We are currently sponsoring our local Habitat for Humanity organization. Giving back to the community is extremely important to us. We recognize how fortunate we are and feel a responsibility to help where we can. I am also very passionate about rescuing and adopting animals…we once had 14 dogs in our house! Ten of them were long-term fosters. We will also be sponsoring a senior dog rescue out of Rockville, Maryland called House with a Heart starting within the next month."
From Separate Careers to Running a Family Business
Prior to joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, John Prinkey and Kate Cusato had two completely different careers outside of the printing industry. John says, "I was with a scientific/biotech instrument manufacturer for 29 years providing technical support either on-site or remotely to customers as well as field service engineers throughout North America. As different as that role was, it still comes down to helping others be successful, so I take that with me into our business today."
Kate shares, "My career prior to Minuteman Press was spent in the non-profit sector. Specifically, I worked for many years with homeless and foster youth in Los Angeles, California where I was the Director of Residential and Shelter services for an agency located in Hollywood. It was incredibly rewarding work and I feel fortunate to have had the experience to work with such amazing and resilient teenagers. Today, I am happy to be working with my dad in a less stressful environment where we are building a solid future for our family."
Why Minuteman Press? John answers, "I had been looking at various business and franchise opportunities over the years. My preference was a B2B model and something that lent itself to family participation. I ran across Minuteman Press International at a franchise expo and after speaking with Regional Vice President Bob Heimbuch I did some research and was surprised at how viable the printing industry was."
John continues on that point, explaining, "It’s funny that there's a perception that print has been usurped by the digital revolution. However, I think there is more of what we do – short-run, fast turnaround, targeted printing – than ever before. This is demonstrated when you go to your mailbox, visit a shopping center, and walk into any store, restaurant, or professional office. Combine that with wide format printing (banners, posters, window displays, etc.), promotional products, and logoed corporate apparel, and you can a comprehensive understanding of what we do for our clients."
Kate adds, "Dad did the research. We wanted something lucrative without a ton of risk that was also enjoyable work. We wanted something we could make our own without starting from scratch. Buying this Minuteman Press franchise was and is perfect for us."
One huge benefit of franchising with Minuteman Press is the ongoing local support that is provided to owners. Kate says, "We are very happy with the support we receive from Minuteman Press. Our field representative Eric Shank is always available when we need him and he comes by the center to support us often. I had no real marketing experience when I started with Minuteman Press. Eric took me out and showed me the ropes, and direct marketing has brought our location a lot of new business."
John adds, "We have also contacted the friendly corporate staff at Minuteman Press International headquarters when purchasing new equipment. They make sure we get the best deal and always have great suggestions and information to pass along to us thanks to their continued research and development."
Running the Family Business Together
What is a typical day for John Prinkey and Kate Cusato as the new owners of their family printing business? Kate explains, "I get to work, check emails, and run over the plan for the day with our amazing team. Then, I follow the Minuteman Press franchise business model and go out marketing for a few hours. When I get back I work on creating and sending quotes as well as following up on current jobs. We recently bought a wide format printer as well as a heat transfer printer for apparel so there has been some study/practice time thrown into the day too!"
John lays out his day, saying, "I’ll come in before the center opens and go through emails as well. I’ll make sure vendors are getting paid and then process payments from customers. I catch up any record keeping and pretty much do whatever Kate tells me to do. We make a great team, and that includes our amazing staff!"
One of the reasons John and Kate enjoy the Minuteman Press business model is because it allows them to have Monday-Friday business hours, which gives them a chance to spend more time with family and relax when they get chance. Kate says, "I am happily married and have a very sweet 21-month-old at home. Life with him is rewarding and fun! I also like to play and watch sports and love music."
In his spare time, John says, "I tend to putter around at various hobbies. Golf, cooking, motorcycles. I enjoy vintage electronics, repairing guitar (tube) amps and radios from the 1930s through the 1960s."
Business Goals and Advice for Others
What's next for Minuteman Press in Frederick, Maryland? Kate takes the lead on answering this question: "The biggest goal right now is to grow the business. We have done renovations, upgraded our server and computer and made some pretty major purchases to give us an extra edge. So far, we are growing quite nicely but I am looking to make a big jump in profits by the end of the year."
Kate and John's advice for others who are looking to own a business or franchise is this: "We are part of the Minuteman Press franchise family, so we lean on our headquarters and field reps for advice and support. They have a lot of knowledge and experience in the printing industry that we learn from. Minuteman Press lets you run your location however you’d like, within reason. They do have some solid guidelines that we recommend you follow. They are the experts."
They continue, "The other advice would be to market your business every day. Sometimes it is slow but if you are looking to grow you have to hit the pavement and knock on doors. Also, join organizations! For us, we know that all businesses need and use print – so why not surround ourselves with business owners?"
John Prinkey and Kate Cusato's Minuteman Press franchise is located at 917A West 7th Street, Frederick, MD 21701. For more information, call John and Kate at 301-695-3225, email [email protected], or visit their website: www.frederick.minutemanpress.com.