The needs of the LGBTQ community in Fort Lauderdale, Florida become more diverse every day as they embrace diversity for all. The Pride Center relies on Maria Medina’s Minuteman Press franchise to meet their design and printing needs.
When Maria Medina bought a printing business in 2014, it was underperforming to the point that the former owner’s best month would be, by her current level of performance and in her words a “horrendous month”. Why? As Maria reflects on what she has done with what is now a bustling digital print, design and marketing center in Ft. Lauderdale, she cannot get over the contrast between the franchise prior to and since she took control as boss of it all
Maria explains, “Even during Hurricane Irma, our performance was stronger than the previous owners’ in 2013. The first, most obvious difference was that I came in with an appreciation of the proven system of operations and ignored the former owner who said not to ‘waste time going door to door or with BNI’ which is against the advice of Minuteman Press International. Sales have doubled and in 2014, I only had 4 months of input, but we increased sales 23% over the previous year.”
Maria threw a grand opening event and from day one, she respected her franchisor and implemented the methods known to work to get the most out of their esteemed brand, adding her inexhaustible passion to her work. “I love what I do and want people to know we are a small business living and working among them and we are reliable. I focus on service and quality and even reprint some things that I do not feel are exactly up to our standards before the customer even sees them, which means even the slightest color variation is perfected.”
Maria’s father introduced her to the world of business after an ankle-injury halted what would have been a professional soccer career, saying, “You can do whatever you want.” Maria wants more and not just for her own growing business. “I want people to continue to learn that we are more than “print and go” – that print is not a commodity. Print is a service and even though you can get a lot of stuff online, you will learn how to market your business at Minuteman Press.”
People responded to the undertone of care and the passion with which Maria put Minuteman Press marketing services to work for their own good. “In 2015, our first full year of control, we increased sales by 54% and I as I learned, I hired good people. For example, in 2016, I hired Theresa because I realized I loved being the focus of every client call, but I am out marketing and networking. Now, I have someone here the entire day and people enjoy the reliability that comes with knowing they can call and trust everyone.”
The Pride Center at Equality Park only needed to give Minuteman Press one shot at printing postcards to notice a huge quality difference and welcome them as a new partner.
The Center’s objectives deserved to be promoted across all channels with a personal touch and Maria Medina knows exactly how to do that, but she needed a chance to prove it. Their motto, “We provide a welcoming, safe space — an inclusive home that celebrates, nurtures and empowers the LGBTQ communities and our friends and neighbors in South Florida,” had been entrusted to another printed and when Maria first approached in 2015, the worthy non-profit had fallen into a common habit that isn’t always in their best interests. They had become “used to” a printer that was limited in vision, capability and dedication.
Maria continues, “They were not ready to switch at first, but when a BNI client of mine referred them to me in 2016, I was given the chance to quote pricing for 5,000 postcards. I could see the benefits of impressing The Pride Center, so I donated them.” Presented with the higher quality and more personal service of the modern printing industry that is Minuteman Press, a partnership was born.
“We are responsible for the design and printing needed for one of their biggest events this year, Wicked Manor, a fundraising block party in which they close off an entire street and bring more than 20,000 people together in celebration. We are designing and producing postcards, banners, signs and t-shirts branded with The Pride Center at Equality Park,” she adds with a measure of satisfaction. Though this connection started with print on paper, it is now far greater.
Maria and her team are enjoying the role of complete marketing services providers as they help The Pride Center expand their reach and further connect a growing community. Designing all of the printed magazine advertisements, Minuteman Press of Ft. Lauderdale did not stop there as digital channels needed to be addressed as well. She elaborates, “We designed all of the online banner ads for social media and their website, so they could be published in harmony with the printed representations of The Pride Center.”
Minuteman Press helps The Pride Center get more value for their money
Roger Roa, Director of Development for The Pride Center, noticed that radio stations sponsoring their Wicked Manor event were using plastic banners in rolls that were torn off and affixed to polls and barricades, but they could be used only once. Roger admired them and hoped to have some produced for the center, but Maria had a better idea. “I recommended that he not invest money into those consumable rolls of plastic. Instead, he agreed to have us produce smaller, vinyl banners with grommets that are re-usable. He ordered fifty and very quickly wanted more and we will accommodate him until they have sufficient stock. He will spend the same money and get far more from it,” according to Maria.
“The quality of products that they have provided is exceptional,” Roger states without hesitation. The proof is continually in the “pudding” of print…and design produced by Minuteman Press in Ft. Lauderdale. He continues, “From simple things like a flyer to more elaborate items like banners, the craftsmanship and quality is top notch. The service on the other hand cannot be compared to anyone else in the area because Minuteman Press has set the bar so high. They work closely with the client and walk them step by step from the designer to their delivery personnel. They go above and beyond to make sure that both the service and products are tailored to each client’s needs and handle efficiently and successfully.”
Equality Park provides 30,000 square feet of meeting and office space for individuals, programs and services, as well as synergy among organizations.
As Director of Development for a non-profit that started in 1993 as the Gay and Lesbian Community Center in South Florida, but is now a much bigger LGBTQ resource for health, social, educational, socio-economic and safety needs, Roger does not mince words. “Hands down Maria and her team really are looking out for their clients and community. Their part in providing great service and products have helped me provide vital information to over 50,000 yearly visitors to The Center, allowing them to see the various programs and events we provide to them through Minuteman Press creations.”
As she provides harmony between print and digital design for Roger’s organization, he credits the harmony between her personal service and their mission for the longevity of the partnership, adding, “I would not hesitate to work with Maria and her team at Minuteman Press in the future. She not only has become a supporter of The Pride Center, but has provided services that truly is welcoming and celebrates, nurtures and empowers the LGBTQ communities just like our very own mission statement proclaims!”