For 175 years, Southwestern University has been “engaging minds and transforming lives.” Minuteman Press in Georgetown, Texas is their trusted design, printing, and marketing services provider.
Crystal and Ty Gipson bought a new Minuteman Press franchise in 2006, after taking a critical look at the printing industry, the quality of some of the work produced by other businesses and their concept of service. They knew they could do all of it far better than any of their competitors and have since demonstrated this truth to the great benefit of their clients representing many industries, increasing the brand presence and growth of all. Ty’s professional resume was weighted with sales expertise and Crystal was a master of management in her prior career. It is not difficult to imagine what transpired when they combined their expertise with award-winning training and support.
They started on day one to cultivate their client base and won favor within their community of Georgetown. “We decided LET’S DO THIS. I tell people, I get potential customers IN and Crystal gets the work they need OUT. We structured our business that way. I would get up every morning that first year and go out networking, including through Chamber of Commerce, to let everyone know what we can do to affect positive things for them. Our Regional Vice President, Pete Scaglione told us to ‘Market hard!’ He told us that growth takes off from there,” says Ty. The couple runs their business with the same zeal today as they did when they were new to the B2B services industry in which they continue to gain broadening popularity and deepening respect. Ty and Crystal started with their knowledge, drive, and support from their world-renowned franchisor and just one other person on staff, Brian. It was enough to begin a journey that would validate their suspicion…that they could do things in the printing industry in a far better way than their competition.
Today, the Minuteman Press printing business in Georgetown, Texas has 23 employees. Their digital print, design, marketing, promotional products, large format printing and signs franchise is run “like a family.” Crystal says, “How do we keep that small family business feeling with our many employees and growing business? We work hard to train and put energy into our employees and make sure they realize we know THEY are the ones who make things run here. They feel appreciated. Together, we always take care of the customer. Always. Even in the beginning, when we were new and learning, if there was a lesson, we took it and grew from it. If there were things that needed to be fixed at any point during the period of project conception to completion, we took care of it. Finding a way to meet the aim of each customer is a constant focus that has carried us through to this day.”
Taking an idea that is often pivotal in the lives of impassioned people from non-profits to businesses of all sizes, all on a mission to promote themselves is the hallmark of the greatest Minuteman Press franchise owners. Ty and Crystal maintain high expectations and they prepare their days to be extremely productive, while adapting to accommodate rush jobs. Ty says, “We would struggle in the beginning by not setting expectations clearly and learned quickly to establish and maintain them at their highest. We try not to create situations where rush jobs are necessary, but when called upon, we accommodate it or we communicate what IS possible. Our goal is to take care of it and fortunately, we have in-house capabilities that are extended to include support from select vendors as needed.”
Southwestern University is committed to fostering a “liberal arts community whose values and actions encourage contributions towards the well-being of humanity” and all of the print, from school logos, colors and slogans to their coveted diplomas are provided by Minuteman Press
Central Texas is the home of Southwestern’s 1,528 students, all of whom enjoy a superior education in a warm, small-town environment that is Georgetown. Their scholar athletes compete on one of 20 NCAA Division III varsity teams and to bring all of this to life for the young people who will graduate and command the future, printed representations that capture the spirit of this fine institution are absolutely essential. For instance, after many decades, football has returned to Southwestern University and Minuteman Press uses their expertise combined with modern printing industry technology to put “GO PIRATES!” pride into every home stadium game.
“Ninety percent of our students throw, hit, run, swim, climb, and sweat their way through their four years here.” – Southwestern University
“We are proud to be the marketing services provider of the oldest university in the state of Texas. Southwestern University has been a great partner and they count upon us for a great deal of important projects,” says Ty. It was through their membership in the Chamber of Commerce that this now longstanding partnership began, but there was another inroad that sealed the deal. Ty continues, “We were knocking on their door early on and we did some work for them. However, about seven years ago, we hired a gentleman who was an alumnus of the university and he helped us secure this relationship on a bigger scale.”
The Southwestern University Pirates football team is back in action after a long time with the full support of Ty, Crystal and their own team at Minuteman Press. There are challenges to building up a new tradition in college athletics and one of them is the fact that the Pirates presently borrow the field at a local high school to act as their home field. Ty explains, “About four or five years ago, they decided to bring football back to the university. It has been over fifty years since they have had a football team to represent them, but when it was time, they needed us to work with them on their design and develop a look and feel that the players and fans could get excited about.”
Ty and Crystal led their staff as they worked closely with the athletic department to create a refreshed and engaging team presence, incorporating the pride of a nearly two-hundred year old tradition in Texas. “We have been highly involved in the rebranding of the Pirates football team as they returned to the NCAA. Currently, the team uses the local high school for home games. The challenge we accepted was to transform that high school into a fitting home field for the Pirates every Friday night. The stadium had to go from red and blue to black and gold, entirely. We designed everything we printed to support the Pirates to fit perfectly over everything in the stadium that was not in line with their team. We create the look and feel of a home stadium for the Pirates and for the fans.”
It is not the sort of project for a novice printer. Fortunately, Minuteman Press franchise owners like Ty and Crystal are able to take a brand or a message and use print on paper as the beginning of a connection with the audience that is strong, but only the beginning of the experience. “People want their game day programs and we printed them to the highest standard, but we honored the brand that is the Southwestern University Pirates by taking a ride into the stadium with the head coach as if we were fans. In this way, we knew exactly how to turn all of that blue into Pirate Black and Gold from first glance, right up to the seats they would be sitting in for the game.”
Ty and Crystal took their study of the stadium back to Minuteman Press of Georgetown and customized the following printed tools with Pirate perfection, section by section for every home game:
- The big blue sign that first greets the fans is outfitted with a perfectly fitted black and gold banner bearing the Pirates logo, so there’s no questions “whose house it is”
- The drive into the stadium is adorned with banner flags, displaying the university’s colors to further provide that game day feel
- The walk into the stadium is an adrenaline rush for Pirates fans as the team at Minuteman Press used extension ladders to carefully place corrugated printed Pirate signs, fitted so well that the team simply owned the stadium before the fans entered
- The fencing that was present around the entire stadium was adorned with
Pirates colors and logos, in the form of wind-screen banners. “WELCOME Southwestern Football” was the bold greeting
- The end zones are lined entirely in giant, alternating, black and gold flags
- The entire perimeter of the stadium is completely covered with big banners displaying all the team’s sponsors’ ads (any blue areas were covered with high-quality black banners)
- Finally, like little black and gold cherries on a perfect sundae of football, all around the very top of the stadium, stunningly printed pennant flags with the big, brand new SU logo completed the ultimate fan experience
What else does Minuteman Press of Georgetown do as a distinguished partner of Southwestern University?
- All printed needs of the drama department and other sports teams
- All design, printing and mailing of invitations to special events from the President (5K runs, art exhibits and more)
- All printed essentials (business cards, letterhead, envelopes) that make the university run daily
- All printing of the University’s diplomas
- All large format printing needed to outfit each department within the University
- All promotional products, such as pens, mugs and even “Pirates” eye-patches
“One of the neat things we were told is that they are going to ask us to produce new programs for the university that feature business partnerships. We will also be featured in their athletic program, printed for each home game. We will be printing them and featured in them,” Ty is happy to say.
Joe Austin, Southwest University, has way too much to manage as the Head Football Coach for the Pirates to worry about designing, printing or promoting university related events, especially those directly affecting his football team. Yet he knows that the way in which the university and the sports teams are presented to the public mean everything when it comes to maintaining pride and furthering the objectives of a nearly 200 year old institution in the modern age.
Joe appreciates the university’s partnership with Minuteman Press in Georgetown and is happy to talk about it. He says, “We never give quality a second thought when working with Ty, Crystal and Minuteman Press. They have exacting standards for what leaves their shop. In addition they make sure their folks understand our needs and desires throughout every step of the process.”
In what is a stark contrast from more impersonal options for print and design, Joe credits Ty not just for the superior quality and attention to detail to each project, but also with having a heart (as the saying goes) and how their partnership is particularly valuable thanks to that human element. He adds, “When I first arrived to start the football program at Southwestern University, Ty was one of the first people to reach out to me, and it wasn’t to sell me stuff. It was to ask what he could do as a community member to help us grow. He brought some great ideas to me and he has been, and will continue to be, a huge asset to our program beyond our vendor-customer relationship.
It’s always enjoyable and comfortable to do business with people that you know care about you beyond what you buy from them. I think this customer service is what defines their business at Minuteman Press.”