The Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise in Wilmington, Delaware is owned by two brothers who took an existing franchise to new heights of success. The Hagley Museum is one of their trusted clients.
Tom and Pat Lord are brothers building business together for themselves after decades of working for other companies and gaining a wealth of knowledge and respect. The trust they have earned in abundance today was first initiated when they bought an underperforming Minuteman Press franchise in Newark, DE ten years ago, eventually growing steadily enough that a move to a larger center in Wilmington, DE, five years ago came to pass. The impressive feat took a complete turnaround from the direction the previous owners were heading; one that veered away from the proven system that is provided and continually honed by their franchisor, plus old-fashioned “pedal to the metal” work intensity.
Tom reflects on his transition from district manager for A & P to now, “The company for which I spent 30 years as a district manager had been declining for 15 years and is no longer in existence. I actually ran an internal print shop from the ages of 18 to 22 years old for that company, taking care of communication tools needed internally and over the years, I was promoted to management.”
He appreciates the irony of a career that started in printing, departing for decades for the white-collar title, only to return when he left the corporate workforce to buy a printing business. He adds, “I went from leaving printing to build a career in corporate management, to coming back, full-circle, as an entrepreneur in the printing industry.”
Tom’s brother, Pat Lord, has his professional beginnings grounded in the printing industry as well, but for a large commercial printer and he stuck with it. He says, “I was a large web press printer and I have been in printing for 30 years managing quality control and supervising night shifts, but now I am a franchise owner. It was a totally different experience working as an employee for a big company, not directly enjoying the personal interaction with the types of clients we have here at Minuteman Press, in Wilmington.”
With each man ready to depart from collecting paychecks from companies other than what they own themselves, it was Tom that remembered his large corporation would turn to Minuteman Press when a job was too much for them to handle. Then Pat found an advertisement to buy a printing business and they made the decision to take it. Pat explains, “The franchise we bought was struggling and on its way out of business, fair to say.” Tom adds, “It was being run by a father/son team, but they stopped putting effort into it and things went downhill.”
Pat continues, “We bought the business. We were not necessarily looking for a franchise, but I am glad we did it. We toured the headquarters of Minuteman Press International and talked to members of the Titus family (founders), personally. We visited more active locations and felt absolutely no pressure. The corporate support staff is really encouraging and offer suggestions, but it is clearly our business from day one.”
Starting as owners of an existing franchise, they had what Pat describes as “nice customers who gave them back trust.” Trust was earned over time as Pat explains, “Our follow-up helped a lot towards encouraging people to reinvest trust in our location and we strengthened those bonds with quality service and products, plus things like free pick-up and delivery. We also send out mailers and are networking with both Tom and I in BNI groups.”
By banding together their combined decades of business intelligence with the modern printing industry leader, Minuteman Press International, they took an existing printing franchise and worked to make their design, print and marketing services a wellspring of growth for their B2B clients. As Tom puts it, “We grew our customer base because it is ours to grow. If you own your business, you go out and grow it – and we did.”
They have a talented staff with full-time designer, Ken, on board since they started, and help on bindery from Sue, plus Tom’s daughter Lauren, an art major with graphic design experience. Lauren joined their family team and is leading the exciting new production of all sorts of projects on the center’s new wide-format printer. Pat says, “At the corporate-wide convention, we went to look at large format printers and also bought a Memjet envelope press. The new technology has been here two months and expanded our offerings with variable data printing and full-color envelopes.”
“We are thankful our franchisor has made arrangements with select vendors and we have great relationships with them. But we are adding new technology and are more capable every day of taking care of complex, larger jobs in-house. We handle large window signs, car wraps and intricate cut-out requests for life-sized print jobs. Our former “offset press room” is now our wide-format press room and we have the latest digital print equipment, with more coming in,” Pat adds.
Rich Hornberger, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President located in Philadelphia, PA, knows why the Lord Brothers are making gains as marketing services providers in Wilmington today. Rich says, “The success and growth Tom and Pat are realizing is directly related to their tremendous work ethic, coupled with their dedication to following the Minuteman Press franchise system. Repairing the good will in their area is a direct result of the type of people Tom and Pat strive to be, by putting their customers’ needs first.”
DID YOU KNOW? The Hagley Museum is the site of the gunpowder works founded by E. I. du Pont in 1802. People come to explore early American industry on a site that includes restored mills, a workers’ community, and the ancestral home and gardens of the du Pont family.
Minuteman Press in Wilmington, DE is provides print and marketing to promote their mission.
Located on 235 acres along the banks of the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware, Hagley is the site of the gunpowder works founded by E. I. du Pont in 1802. They are home to a treasure for those fascinated with the study of business and technology in America, the Hagley Library. Housed here are invaluable collections that include individuals’ papers and companies’ records spanning from eighteenth-century merchants to modern telecommunications. Tom and Pat are counted upon to use their expertise and tools of the modern printing industry to help bring people in where they can see the “impact of the business system on society”. Also, Hagley likes to host grand affairs and designs for all must be brought to life in print.
Adam Albright is the Graphic Design Manager for Hagley Museum and Library and he feels there is no limit to what his marketing services providers can do for the museum. He says, “When I started at Hagley Museum 25 years ago, my predecessor told me that Minuteman Press was his go-to for print projects. When Tom and Pat got into the business, they met with me in person to make sure it would be a smooth transition and we have worked together ever since. They do everything from invitations to specially sized Post-its to oddly-sized and hole punched documents. They can really do anything I throw at them!”
Pat and Tom respect Adam on a personal level and are excited about the relationship their Minuteman Press center has with Hagley because they are equipped with the latest print technology to handle the additional demand as their popularity continues to increase. Pat explains, “He sends us emails on mistakes we caught thanking us – for being there for him. They have craft fairs and seasonal parties throughout the Hagley Museum and every job comes with a due date, of course. Once a month, he will send over something and ask for it in two days and numerous times we are on a tight schedule, but we never say no to them.”
“We donate printing every year to the Hagley Museum Fireworks Spectacular and in exchange, Adam gives us tickets to come and enjoy the festivities. Our relationship works because we have earned real trust.” – Pat Lord
Tom continues with a word about efficiency, “If Hagley says they need a job done in two hours, we find a way to get it done. It’s the perfect relationship. They are good people at Hagley. Adam is easygoing, yet very professional; and if there is ever a challenge like with details of any project, we reprint it for him or if he makes mistakes and if we don’t catch it, we give him a reprint. We take care of all of their stationery, flyers, brochures, invitations and all the printed needs for the many parties they host – plus more.”
Hagley Library is a proud member of the prestigious Independent Research Libraries Association (IRLA).
Things get done well in this partnership clearly and that is a big reason it is lasting. According to Adam, “The quality is excellent and on those very rare times when it’s not, they will make things right. They go out of their way to meet my unreasonable deadlines!” He continues with refreshing humor, “I think the key to our decades-long relationship is communication. I ask for feedback on how clean my files are and they ask for feedback on the quality of their work. Their technician, Ken, never hesitates to ask if I need to see a therapist regarding my propensity to use too many drop shadows and I tell him that if he could operate the press correctly he might finally get them to look right. Tom and Pat are usually horrified by our phone calls but it’s all in fun.”
Humor and parties aside, Minuteman Press in Wilmington, Delaware continues to honor the essential mission of Hagley Museum and to help assure continued interaction with the world of scholarship, helping to bring attention to Hagley’s research collections and “generate intellectual dialogue”.
Adam concludes confidently, “Tom and Pat’s level of service consistently exceeds my expectations. When I ask them if they can meet an unreasonable deadline, and they say they can, then I know they will. Their quality and reliability is wonderful.”