Ellie Francisco provides “strategic community positioning and the most sophisticated integrated event solutions” with the design and printing expertise of Minuteman Press in Uptown Houston, Texas.
The Galleria area of Houston is home to a Minuteman Press franchise with a history that extends back thirty-two years and in 2012 the community it serves was enriched when Jody and Goroh Numata decided to buy it upon the former owners’ retirement. Once their accumulated business intelligence and natural ability to connect with people merged with the training and support of the number-one rated digital print, design and marketing franchise, they began building new, lasting partnerships while honoring those that came with the business.
Jody says, “We were looking for a franchise and since we didn’t know the print business, we looked for one that had a strong support team behind us. We have Rich Panowitz, our Area Manager and we love dealing with him. He is tremendously supportive and comes in to help us. That is what we wanted and why we wanted to buy an existing franchise, for the support and for employees with a knowledge base.”
Goroh spent many years traveling overseas. When he retired, Goroh and Jody decided they wanted to do something together, to build a business as a couple. “My husband worked for ConocoPhillips and I worked in the travel division of Amex for 17 years with my last role casting me as a manager of multiple offices. I left in 2005 and we decided I would be a full-time parent until our daughter was in middle school. That time came in 2012 and we bought our Minuteman Press center. Now, our daughter is a senior in high school and while having our own business definitely gives us flexibility to take care of our family, entrepreneurship is something you really need to be completely dedicated to in order to make it work,” Jody explains.
Many of Jody and Goroh’s clients are non-profit organizations and they work primarily with event coordinators and the demands of the many clients whose most important events are under their care. Jody explains that her approach to customer service is to “try to give the customer a quality product as quickly as possible” and she does so with attention to detail that rival the most talented event coordinators, which is greatly appreciated.
“My approach to customer service is to try to give the customer a quality product as quickly as possible. My approach has changed over the past 5 years, which I credit to changing technology and expectations of today’s market. With the daily demands of everyone’s jobs increasing, clients frequently need jobs produced within a day or two. We do our best to accommodate their ever-increasing need for fast turn-around. I love it when someone is really happy that we made something happen for them, whether it was a beautiful event program or a last-minute presentation. It’s gratifying to know we were able to help someone get what they need.”
There are countless instances of times when people need last minute jobs and not all of them are small. Jody recalls a time she and her staff came together and saved the day for a church that needed a large print order on very short notice. “They needed 78,000 raffle tickets and it was such a last minute order that I spoke to my team and everyone willingly came in on a Saturday and got it done in time to meet the need. It is truly a team effort, our success. We work together as a team to handle challenging jobs in a timely manner. If someone in another department needs help, someone will step up even if it is “not their job.” As far as we are concerned, it is the responsibility of all team members to make sure every job is handled with the utmost quality and care and as quickly as possible.”
She continues, “Everyone here pulls through for one another and for our clients. Our employees have a combined 79+ years in the business and their love of print clearly shows. All of our team members are Print Partners, which means we partner with the client to meet their needs and, hopefully, exceed their expectations. ”
The expectations of francisco+co. are as extraordinary as the design, planning, organization and implementation of every event they manage for their own clients. Their partnership with Minuteman Press assures each brand under their care is honored down to the last detail. “We are design and print consultants for francisco+co. They are one of the largest event coordinators for non-profit organizations in the city of Houston and they are expanding their professional event management services to include other cities,” according to Jody.
Their firm knows that every event represents the brand of the client that trusts them and they rely upon Jody, Goroh and staff to do justice to the truth that “every event becomes your brand.” They make clear that their mission is to use a proprietary strategic approach, marketing services and robust connections to deliver events that not only exceed expectations but build on each organizations’ long-term image.
“Ellie Francisco does a lot of work with non-profit organizations and coordinates events of all sizes. She had been a long term client of this center and works primarily with one of our team members, Marji Zamora. Marji has been taking care of Ellie since she became a client of our location. We take care of design and all print needs from business cards, to customized wine bags, napkins and beyond to whatever her roughly thirty clients may need.”
Ellie Francisco’s clients for whom Jody and Goroh have done work include: Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP), National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, which hosts an annual Winter Ball, one of the larger fundraising events in the city. Jody says, “The mail campaigns we do for Ellie’s clients are always unique. Nothing goes out that may look common. Everything is hand-stamped and even the postage is attractive. When one receives a mail piece to the Butterfly Luncheon with a butterfly stamp, it stands out as opposed to something metered, so we prepare these mailings in-house.”
Jody continues, “One of our award-winning designs (Printing Industries of the Gulf Coast Graphics Excellence Awards) was a unique invitation package designed for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. It was die-cut and foil-stamped with feathers we applied by hand. The invitations were mailed in a translucent envelope, so the full effect of the invitation could be seen from outside the envelope. For our CAP account, in addition to invitation packages and event programs, we also print calendars for their fundraisers.”
Organization and preparation to help ease time pressure is a reality that Minuteman Press franchise owners champion each day for those who give them trust. Francisco’s client, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation honors Houston’s Women of Distinction at their annual ball; these women are honored for their volunteerism and contributions to the Houston community. That means producing high-class print to complement the evening. “We start preparing for the January Winter Ball in late spring by producing their letters for event sponsorship and welcome booklets for the honorees. There are multiple smaller events hosted around this big one, so there are a few mail campaigns leading up to the event. Of course, we also produce their invitations, signage and programs for the big night.”
Ellie Francisco appreciates her relationship with Minuteman Press and is pleased to share her thoughts, “Minuteman Press works on numerous projects for us, for many of our clients and is our “go-to” printer. They work on projects that we need with quantities varying from 10 to 10,000. They can handle it. Their services are the highest quality and always done in a timely fashion…often expedited for the client.”
As the results have been aligned with the high standards she maintains, Ellie assures, “I have been working with Minuteman Press for over twelve years and will continue to do so. They always go the extra mile and always with a positive attitude.”