Teens and their peers with special needs are united by unique and engaging events created by an organization that cares about the world they will lead… and they do it with Minuteman Press as a partner.
Bruce Mezistrano feels the concept of customer service eludes many business owners, even though they claim to be experts in the area. He is intent on making sure that every one of his clients has a genuine experience that produces results, each and every time. “I owned retail furniture stores for 33 years so I have been immersed in marketing! I understand what it takes and how important it is to market both for the shop and our customers. Everyone thinks they understand customer service but many really don’t totally grasp it entirely. If something is wrong we fix it immediately! If it is the customers fault we may point it out but we will usually say, ‘we should have caught that’ and we reprint it.”
Bruce always finds a way to handle what comes his way. When he bought a Minuteman Press franchise in 2015 that had been established 33 years prior, he imparted this proactive approach to his entire team, a few of whom had been with the respected design and digital print center for years. “I have a fantastic staff that really makes it so easy to run the shop. Gregory is our pressman and has been with the franchise for almost 20 years. He is well respected in the print community and fills in at other centers from time to time. David is our creative graphic designer who works on everything prepress, bindery, customer service and much of the marketing tools we use for our location. He has been with the shop for about 6 years. CJ is the newest member of our team and has done an incredible job of managing the flow, handling emails, phone, walk-ins graphic design, bindery and prepress.”
“I am relatively new to the business but I have no regrets. I enjoy working with people to help them either grow their business or solve problems they have. Of course a key is also to enjoy the people I work with every day and I am blessed with a great crew.” – Bruce Mezistrano, owner Minuteman Press Bellevue, Washington
Bruce and his team have several large clients and a lot of them are IT or technology-related, an industry that makes its home in his region. However, one of the greatest things about owning a Minuteman Press is the fact that you will welcome people with ideas, established businesses or non-profits that are truly extraordinary and Bruce has one under his expert care that stands out for its good work. He explains, “One of my largest and most interesting is The Friendship Circle of Washington. They do phenomenal work matching teens with special needs kids. When I hear the stories from the teens, the kids and the parents of the challenged kids it melts my heart.”
The Friendship Circle of Washington joins special needs and typical youth to nurture critical virtues and practical skills
It’s clear that the mission of the Washington Friendship Circle is one that helps all youth grow into adulthood as the best versions of themselves possible. Through empowering special needs youth with practical skills they need to lead a productive and independent life and giving typical teens an active role in that process, they foster within them a sense of awareness and communal responsibility. This organization is contributing to a the world that is moving closer to a reality where acceptance, friendship and imparting skills and knowledge allow special needs kids to become contributing and loved members of society.
- The organization holds a “Sunday Circle” in which parents entrust their children to the care of qualified professionals, Friendship Circle staff, and their one-on-one teen buddies. While kids enjoy structured group activities, parents enjoy a few sacred moments of free time.
Since their entire focus is dependent upon fellowship and gathering together, there are many events throughout the year that simply would not work without printed calendars, posters and flyers that are colorful and capture the good spirit of the organization. Minuteman Press of Bellevue champions all things printed that help bring these events to life before, during and after (since print is, by its very nature, a keepsake).
There is one particularly big event, their annual dinner, and that is where Bruce and his team really get to roll up their sleeves and help to honor selected good people for their presence and contributions to the organization. Bruce calls it the most challenging event for which they design and print, adding, “It may be the most challenging but also it’s the most rewarding. It is the fundraising annual dinner honoring an outstanding teen (or a teen’s family) for their contribution of time and or money.”
Their annual dinner is also their major fundraiser and typically hosts between 400-500 people. With many volunteers helping out and little or no time to design art, Bruce and his staff take over and relief any such burden connected to design and print for the big night. “We spend time preparing just the right art. We print and mail everything for this event, save the date notices, invitations, response cards, table menus, pledge cards, posters, banners, thank you cards and tribute journal; and much of this comes in a few days before needed, but that is when we put our customer service philosophy into action and find a way to get it all done,” explains Bruce.
He adds, “We just did our third dinner and we worked hard and sometimes late to get everything complete and delivered on time. We worked on the displays throughout the hotel to decorate and tell the story. This time we printed 9 posters (3 ft wide 12 feet high) to hang behind the stage and in the hotel foyer. It was a beautiful event.” And true to the altruistic spirit Minuteman Press franchise owners are known to possess, Bruce charged a reduced fee through the year for various jobs but the extraordinary work he and his staff do for the dinner, he donates. This is something he does not advertise, as he comments, “I know that’s probably not the smartest thing to do, but we do not donate products or services for the advertising or spotlight, but for the satisfaction we get from helping. Besides, we get compliments from so many people that love how everything we produced looks; and we continue to surprise people on the variety of things we are able to do at Minuteman Press.”
Rabbi Elazar Bogomilski is the respected Director of the Friendship Circle of Washington. As he leads an organization that helps typical teens foster a sense of social responsibility and the desire to embrace and advocate for their special needs peers, he is grateful their many events are supported by a design and print expert who cares. In his words, “Bruce has created an amazing environment. He is very accessible and warm and will go out of his way to make sure he meets with us to make sure we have everything we need. We are busy advancing our main objectives and do not have to worry about going back and forth as with other printers. Bruce provides a meaningful and dependable partnership that allows us to trust Minuteman Press with our many events from large outdoor banners for city-wide walks, to classy journals and invitations for high-end dinners.
Rabbi Bogomilski knows dedication and ethics are critical, adding, “He and his staff have stepped up and delivered so many times, even with rush jobs, getting his team to work beyond typical hours to accommodate us. He is honest and it’s clear he is invested in our success. That’s what you need in a fast-paced world, a design and print expert who creates quality, professional work because sometimes you only have a fraction of a moment to grasp the attention of your audience.”
He concludes with a most important truth that will only serve the good of all the youth and their families within his community, “Our partnership with Minuteman Press is such that there is a seamless connection between our organization, the community at large, and our marketing services provider.”
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