U.S. military Veterans Becky and Martin Cude own their Minuteman Press franchise in Portland, Oregon. They use the skills they developed in the military and the corporate world to help B2B clients in their hometown such as FoodCorps.
Martin and Becky Cude put people at ease and help them during times of extreme pressure and even crisis. It would be easy to attribute their innate ability to be a calming presence and solve problems to their respective military careers. However, grace and caring are virtues they present quite naturally. After all, good people need not be trained in goodness, yet it is an advantage that Becky and Martin share with their clients of the Minuteman Press franchise they bought in their hometown of southwest Portland.
“We are native Portlanders, which seems to be a rarity these days and we went to high school within a few miles of our center. Now, with over 30 years in both military and corporate environments, we decided to take command of our destiny and apply the skills, experiences, and lessons learned along the way to build a rewarding business in our community,” Martin proclaims.
Meet Veteran Franchise Owners Becky and Martin Cude
Becky Cude joined the Army National Guard in 1988, retiring as a staff sergeant after serving twenty-one years that were highlighted by various medical missions internationally and at home. “I have always been in the medical field, and disaster relief was a big part of my focus. Before the 9/11 tragedy, I went on medical a mission to Ecuador and participated in medical cross-training with the Japanese Reserve Force in Hokkaido, Japan. Now, as a Minuteman Press franchise owner where service, quality, reliability and efficiency is paramount, I am happy to relieve people of digital distance and use my ability to ‘triage’, to genuinely engage and truly listen to them. One advantage from the hearing loss I suffered from a combination of genetic influence and conditions over many years in the military is that it has augmented my ability to pick up other social cues from people.”
Becky continues, “People are now so accustomed to digital communications and they have their place, but I do most of my deliveries and both seasoned and new customers reveal a lot when I visit. What they reveal I make sure to put to good use on their behalf, no matter their industry or their message.”
The Navy is where Martin Cude began his aviation career, in helicopter maintenance and operations. Later, this evolved into aerial service sales and global business development, a specialty he maintains professionally to this day. Martin explains, “In addition to owning Minuteman Press in Portland with my wife, I work for Erickson Incorporated and we provide heavy-lifting helicopter services throughout the world. I work primarily with local operators in South America such as Columbia, Peru and Chile, making sure our heavy-lift helicopters continue to deliver world-class firefighting, infrastructure construction, and energy exploration services; but I am also involved with developing new markets around the world.”
As this article is being written, Martin is working with a prime government contractor for mobilization of Erickson’s massive aircrane helicopter to Puerto Rico in order to accelerate the restoration of electrical transmission infrastructure that was knocked out by the recent hurricane devastation.
Martin and Becky have the training and the passion to find or create solutions for people in need.
That shared drive has translated seamlessly into the digital print, design and marketing center they lead in Portland under the proven system of Minuteman Press International. Martin says, “I went to Ghana to assist the new government there develop new lines of construction and to make disaster response more efficient. Throughout my years, my ability to have conversations with people working on the ground and those operating our aircraft has taught me a lot about how to find the needs of a given situation and help address it.”
Strengthening their reputation with excited but sometimes overwhelmed business owners who need their marketing services has become what is often called a labor of love for the Cude family. They anticipate that their daughter will be joining the production team soon as well as their son, who has a degree in graphic arts.
“We know how to deliver a service package to people that will meet their needs,” Martin says with assurance that resonates with their B2B Services Community. Becky adds, “We also have the greatest training and support from Minuteman Press International, especially Chris Jutt, our Regional Vice President and Jayson Krauss, our field representative. It is about more than royalties for them, clearly. Chris calls to see what we need and I feel as if I am talking to a brother, so they care, too. The prior owners of our location and fellow franchise owners have been an invaluable resource. The support network has been invaluable.”
Further, they make certain no one waits with a team that understands its mission is personal and minutes can be critical to clients. Martin continues, “We greet people within seconds when they walk through our door, and therefore consider internet-based inquiries and requests for quotes to be our “virtual counter”, so we handle those quickly as well. When it comes down to production, design, service quality, and ultimately customer satisfaction, we must acknowledge our employees. It doesn’t go without notice when a customer attributes their loyalty to our shop because of the people providing the service. That speaks volumes about the character of our store and those who make it happen day in and day out.”
“Besides,” Becky interjects, “Being a Minuteman Press franchise owner means being excited about what our customers are trying to accomplish…and making sure they get it done in-house or with our preferred vendors; so we look forward to hearing from our regulars and new customers alike.”
Becky is wise to the delicate balance required to provide the best pricing to non-profit groups, while protecting sales growth and avoiding waste for everyone. “Now that we have identified internal gaps in customer resolution that may lead to errors, we can address how to avoid repeating them. We want to offer discounts AND do a great job, so we need to be confident that we are going to get the job done correctly and efficiently the first time in order to save time and money,” she explains. “Yet our reputation and our integrity are paramount and we lead with a military acronym, ‘LIPP’ which stands for Loyalty, Integrity, Pride and Professionalism. It is ingrained in us and as we live it every day, we carry it into our business.”
FoodCorps is building a healthier future by pursuing systematic strategies that will benefit all of our nation’s 100,000 schools and Minuteman Press in Portland is building that future along with them.
Though they were using Minuteman Press when the Cudes bought the center, Becky went and visited the FoodCorps office with a fresh catalog of marketing options and let them know a non-profit discount was available to them. The objectives of the non-profit organizations that are clients resonate deeply with Becky, particularly those of FoodCorps as health and nutrition education are her personal passion.
Becky says, “I spent years as a single parent and putting nutritious food on the table can be hard, so working with FoodCorps to help educate children and their families about affordable nutrition at a young age is something I know is critical to provide whole care to kids in schools. I coached soccer for more than fourteen years for both of my children (now in their twenties) and I remain a mentor in the field of health and nutrition. I am honored to help do this work,” Becky says with pride.
The NBA’s Portland Trailblazers have a rookie player with experience in childhood obesity and like their local Minuteman Press Caleb Swanigan was in the news in December 2017 for visiting schools on behalf of the mission of FoodCorps. He went to the garden and discussed favorite vegetables and helped the kids plant a few. “We are big Trailblazers fans, so it is great that Caleb is sharing his story that includes overcoming childhood obesity and making it to the big leagues. The educational materials we print for the organization supports all of the lesson plans needed to connect kids to food choices that will impact the rest of their lives,” Martin shares.
“We are currently printing full-color posters for FoodCorps and perfecting the color-matching in compliance with their brand specifications. Some of the other printed materials we make sure they have included instructional guides for all of the teachers with accompanying books for the kids in the classroom. It is demanding, but very rewarding work,” Becky explains.
The Director of Program Design for FoodCorps, Lucy Flores, is grateful for a partnership with Minuteman Press in downtown Portland that produces printed works that are effective and a source of pride for her organization. She says of her experience, “Their team did a wonderful job printing a variety of handbooks for our national program! They are beautiful and we are proud to have them in the hands of our educators around the country.”
Lucy has words for those in the community looking for a marketing services provider who can meet their objectives with efficiency and heart: “Everyone at Martin and Becky Cude’s Minuteman Press center has been fantastic to work with. It’s clear they care about your mission and want to understand how they can support you in reaching your goals, and they also connect with you on a personal level. It has been a pleasure to work with them on a variety of projects this past year.”
As their community grows and welcomes new people, Becky and Martin give themselves in skill and spirit, making Minuteman Press in downtown Portland a marketing services provider that is a real part of what people in their area call ‘home’.
Becky relates to her clients, saying, “We know what it’s like to experience first times in business and it can be intimidating, but not with the right partners. We are gaining wisdom and will earn our comfort.” Martin agrees, adding, “I am learning that what differentiates us in the age of electronic communication is that we value human interaction which means being there, following-up and face-to-face time. That is where we are gaining momentum, with the real relationships we are creating.”
Concluding with certainty, Becky adds, “We care. And right now, that is exactly what the world needs. As we have our franchisor and fellow owners, our clients have us. As we love our community, we intend to be part of its healthy growth.”