If you give Neal Sugarman even the hint of a good idea, he will take it, help you unfurl it and bring it into reality to its greatest effect. He does this with vigor every day for clients wishing to promote a brand or a message, building business together with them since he first bought his International Minute Press franchise in early 2016. He says, “I was on the customer side for many years and I was also a marketing executive who spent a lot of money on design and print, so my standards are based on my own high expectations.”
In fact, his talent for augmenting great concepts was something he first applied when he took ownership for an existing printing business that was armed with the greatest brand name and proven system in the industry, but was being run like a “quick print shop”. He had the foresight to know that his drive and experience combined with the full force of what Minuteman Press International provides could take International Minute Press in Cary, NC and turn it into what it is today, the finest representation of the modern printing industry at work, always, for his current and future clients.
“I bought the shop in 2016, but it has been around for 12 years and we have worked to grow it quite a bit in that time as it was operating more as a local print shop that people simply used to come in and have things printed out, but with my background in marketing and the local support and training from our franchisor, we added services, including in-house design capabilities,” Neal states.
Cary, North Carolina is home to approximately 160,000 people. According to Neal, the downtown area is benefiting from revitalization and he is a big part of that effort now. He explains, “Another big change that brought my business into the forefront of people’s minds here is that we are heavily involved in our community. I am a dedicated member of the Chamber of Commerce as well as a local association, The Heart of Cary. I am very active in promoting downtown commerce and working with the Town of Cary as well as local merchants to drive the faster and more appropriate development there.”
“My favorite customer is the one that would be perceived as ‘demanding’ because I know I will figure out how to make them happy and no one else can.” – Neal Sugarman, owner, International Minute Press printing franchise, Cary, NC
Their community and its health are central to the growth of Neal’s franchise and the wide range of clients they have reflects that philosophy. He adds, “We promote Dorcas Ministries, an amazing charity, using direct mail for them as a tool to spread their good word. I am actively involved in their fundraising and I am a donor as well. In this and other ways, we meet new customers through the natural process of living, working and contributing to our area and as a result it not only helps us feel good, we are becoming well-known and respected.”
Since his approach exemplifies the culture of Minuteman Press International, “sitting around and waiting for calls” is NOT how Neal leads his team. He says, “We become true partners to our customers and we are always picking up clients because we are out there meeting them and listening to their needs. Then, we show them. We have several clients who need things shipped around the country and they trust us with that task. We are courteous and our staff never just sends an email. We ask how they are doing personally, we thank them and want to know how their business is doing and people respond. Our goal is to provide the highest level of care.”
Neal trains his staff to think like his customers and be as motivated as they are to meet time and quality goals. He also says, “If there is a problem, we aim to find it before it is shipped to the customer. We are confident in that I try to keep the capacity level above what we need in terms of equipment and staff, allowing us to grow without impact on our customer. In fact, it makes us very accommodating at the last minute.”
International Minute Press in Cary makes sure to keep the value in front of every customer, so there is never any question that they are doing justice to their brand by forgoing potentially cheap online options. “It is my passion to help small and mid-sized businesses develop their strategies, fundamentally. Most printers just print. We take interest in their business and participate in their growth which allows us to grow as well,” Neil assures.
Adams, an Old Castle Company, developed deeper ties with International Minute Press when Neal Sugarman assumed ownership and got to know their business. He realized they could do so much more towards growth…and saw to it that they did.
Concrete masonry design, masonry and technology have been the work of Adams Since 1946. They are highly respected and maintain the confidence of builders, architects and consumers to this day. They provide the largest variety of masonry and hardscape concrete products in a wide range of colors shapes and sizes; and presenting their offerings with respect to color accuracy is the provision of Neal Sugarman and his team of design, print and marketing experts.
“Oldcastle Adams became our regular client and over time, the variety of products and services we provided to them grew to include architectural binders, photography, creative design, large format banners and signs, and promotional products. As we helped Oldcastle Adams expand their reach, we developed a strong working relationship. We are always considering new ways to help them promote their business,” according to Neal.
The design and print work International Minute Press provides to Oldcastle Adams solved a longstanding problem that makes promoting their products and services much easier.
“Since they are in the masonry design business, sending out samples of their products was hard because the samples are heavy and they can get damaged in transit. Also, it is limiting for them to just pick one piece to represent all that they do. In a meeting, Robert and his staff described what they would like to accomplish with the architects and we then came up with a concept for the architectural binder. It provided a way to present their products so their customers can choose based on exactly what their options are,” Neal explained. Sample boards are expensive so International Minute Press of Cary designed and produced a tool that honored the color matching needs and budget of the company that builders, architects and consumers have come to respect over many decades.
“We created a 14 x 11 printed sample book, containing vivid examples of 100 different products. It included photography, layout, graphic design, and the highest quality of printing – while working hand-in-hand with the customer. We took care of all of the photography with care that it was done under standard viewing conditions, so they all looked accurate. We worked closely with Adam’s quality control staff to assure every sample looked like the actual stone the customer would receive.” Neal personally sat in the conference room to examine a wide variety of stone samples and though it was tedious, it was the only way to make absolutely certain the books were accurate and do the products justice in print. “After all, if a customer of theirs sets out to build a $20 million dollar building based on selections from a book we printed, it simply must be perfect,” he adds with confidence.
The sample book pleased his client’s quality control department and from there, the entire company. Since that time, Oldcastle Adams experienced the reality of the modern printing industry as Neal was able to print their brand on a variety of promotional products, not just paper, to further promote their company. “We designed and printed their sample book and it came out great, so we went on to produce branded poker chips, mugs, tumblers and a big order of “sticky note” pads. We make certain that their 30 locations around the Carolinas have the best signage possible. Since they have so many different products to offer, we help display their work by photographing finished buildings that are printed onto the signs provided to all of those locations,” he explains.
Robert Carmody, Jr. is the Product and Marketing Manager for Adams and his respect for International Minute Press grew deeper when Neal took over ownership, as did his intent to expand the nature of their partnership beyond print on paper. He says, “I like working with Neal because he understands our business. He definitely has the customer’s needs in mind. I can call him, e-mail him, or run down the street to his office to make things happen. In the past I would have to deal with the bureaucracy of our company to get marketing collateral. With Neal, we get it done quickly at a competitive price.”
Measurable results have impressed Robert, and he continues, “As far as tracking business growth, yes Neal’s services have augmented our promotional efforts with the design community. I have since introduced him to other sales teams at Oldcastle Adams and I get good feedback from these folks.”
Building business together with clients as a marketing services provider is how Minuteman Press franchise owners, like Neal, lead the modern printing industry. He concludes with certainty, “We have grown over two-fold in a little over a year because our approach is conclusive. We are not here only to print things, but to generate ideas and implement strategies while engaging them in the process and protecting their brand.”