Mike Hudson Distributing consists of 19 tractors and 20 trailers, and a full staff of 70+ employees. The company continues to grow in spite of the many changes in the industry and they do so with the help of Minuteman Press.
Lots of wise people have been quoted as referring to the inevitability of change and how change is not to be resisted, but embraced. Yet, in an increasingly volatile world with people who are unwilling or unable to deeply connect with a specialty or a place to call home, there is something to be said for continuity and for steadfast loyalty. Mike Maddalena is a prime example of a seasoned professional who constructed his life to honor his ties to the city he calls home, Petaluma, CA.
“As a child and through college, I came back to Petaluma to work for my Dad, who constructed and sold dairy equipment for what were about 300 dairies at the time. He sold the company during my senior year of college and though I was startled at first, he probably did me a big favor as there are only about 75 dairies here now. This left me with the need to figure out how to make a living. After a few years in the workforce, on a whim, I went to a franchise show and discovered Minuteman Press International. It seemed there was a center about to close in Petaluma, so I gathered my pennies and in 1993, I became an entrepreneur in my home town,” Mike says.
Mike bought a Minuteman Press franchise at the age of 27 and 16 years later he held a grand re-opening in the building that once housed his father’s dairy equipment business. He sought this location out purposely because while he is supported by his franchisor and family, ready to handle the inevitable change life forces upon us at times, he boldly protects his desire to keep the most important things constant.
“I majored in agricultural science and managerial economics at UC Davis, but I really only worked for my Dad, one other company and now, for myself. My Dad kept the building in which he ran his dairy equipment business. In 2006, I was looking to expand and we decided to remodel the old dairy equipment building. It took two years to get permits and remodel, and I now operate my print, design and marketing franchise out of the same building in which I grew up working. It’s weird because I am here taking care of my clients and I still remember it as it was when I was a child. I also took advantage of the chance to buy my childhood home from my mother, so I also live in the house in which I grew up with the same 1.5 mile commute; except now, it’s not dairy equipment, it is the modern printing industry,” Mike explains.
Mike bought a B2B franchise that was not performing well and the equipment needed to be upgraded as the former owner was not aligned with the proven system of their franchisor. His bold move home to enter the field of business owners was not in vain, but also not without a lot of hard work ahead. He acknowledges this, “The customers weren’t happy and the former owner was not following our system of operations. I was young and determined and I went to training with the intention of turning it all around. I listened to Roy Titus, Mike Jutt, Dave Scadin and all the executives at our home office, so when I had my grand opening, I followed exactly what they said to do. I can say the early growth was 100% from following the Minuteman Press system.”
“Print is not an impulse purchase. It is not a shiny new car or a flashy watch. Print is something people buy because they need it.” – Mike Maddalena
Mike led a persistent effort to build a thriving business, going out marketing with notepads and business cards. The template for the notepads was one that he stuck with over the decades as it worked so well. It was another way he kept true to his preference to embrace consistency and avoid unnecessary change. Mike says, “Twenty-five years into this and we still follow the same proven system and that notepad template is still in use, but they evolved to four-color printed collateral. Today, our offerings are greater. From letterhead, business forms and cards we now have marketing services and products that include presentation folders, direct mail and more. I like to think we are so smart that we know ahead of time what will accommodate our audience and their needs. The truth is we listen to them. We take raw materials, equipment, technical ability, and provide input. Ultimately, we do as they wish to make our clients happy and keep their lives as simple as possible in the process.”
Mike Hudson Distributing began in the basement of a historic commercial building listed on the National Register of Old Town Petaluma and today, the growing company trusts Minuteman Press of Petaluma with all of their marketing services.
In 1968, a man named Mike Hudson began his career as a food distributor with a small van, delivering salami from deli to deli in Petaluma, and what evolved was a business that has become the “most predominant specialty food distributors in Northern California. Their belief is that it is the relationship with their customers and their unwavering commitment to core values, listed on their website as ‘integrity, caring and passion” that has sustained them through the many changes that time and demand bring in their industry.
For Minuteman Press in Petaluma, making certain ALL design and printed collateral honors the Mike Hudson brand is paramount. Mike Maddalena says, “We know the exact way their colors need to be printed as they have been clients since 2007. They were loyal to another vendor until that vendor was sold and became less reliable. Diane approached me as she was aware we had being doing the work for the previous vendor, a broker. They gave us a try and were happy. Consistency matters because the same simple mistake on a business card getting by us can lead to the same simple mistake on a $5,000 job and that is why we are diligent. We do not pick and choose where to be careful and deliver quality. We are consistent.”
Diane Moore is the Marketing Manager for Mike Hudson Distributing and she recognizes that her company and Minuteman Press share pride in their work. She says, “Minuteman Press definitely takes pride in the quality of their work. There has never been a time in my 13 years of doing business with them that I have been disappointed. MHD is a food distributor and our customer is not the big chains like Safeway, Raley’s and Kroger’s but the small independents. A big part of our business is customer service – in which we pride ourselves on the relationships that we have. I can honestly say that Mike and his team subscribe to the same theory. Their service is outstanding. I am so busy that I feel like I am always behind the eight ball – especially when I need something printed and Minuteman Press always, always comes through even if they only have a couple of days to print.”
With continued leadership in place Mike Hudson Distributing is well positioned to continue to gain market share in Northern California by providing the reliable service and unique mix of specialty products our customers have come to trust and expect.
Diane continues, “I would like to add, I love my Minuteman Press! I have been the Marketing Manager at MHD for 13 years and we have always had Minuteman Press provide our printing. At MHD, we create our POS in house and send it to Minuteman Press for printing.”
“We do a marketing program book for them every year that can be complicated because it’s a color-critical job,” Mike adds. “Food, faces and furniture are cited as the toughest thing to print in full-color. For Mike Hudson, we print food and faces and we work closely with them to make sure it is all exactly right.”
Here are some of the projects Minuteman Press in Petaluma prints for MHD (with some quantities listed) courtesy of Diane Moore:
- Our monthly magazine – The Middleman – 400
- Annual Calendars – 700
- Marketing booklets – 200
- Media Kits
- Golf Tournament invitations – 250
- Website announcements – 1000
- Christmas Party invitations
- …and so much more!” (Actually, Minuteman Press prints all of our marketing collateral)
Diane emphasizes, “I am solicited for printing services all the time from companies local and far – but our partnership with Minuteman Press in Petaluma is strong. Printing businesses are everywhere but our partnership is special. I hired an assistant about three years ago and put her in charge of some printing needs. I explained that we work with Minuteman Press and have a wonderful relationship, but not knowing Minuteman Press, she had jobs quoted by other printers. It wasn’t long before she said, ‘You were right. Minuteman Press really goes the extra mile both in service, quality and price. I totally understand your relationship.'”
For good measure, she adds, “As long as Mike and his wonderful team are in business, I can’t see myself or MHD using any other printing company.”