Shell Chemical is a division of Royal Dutch Shell (One of the Largest Companies in the World) and Minuteman Press provides them with essential design and printing services.
Karl Chapple’s sense of command about handling things and his ability to manage people and the entire spectrum of situations they create in the workplace is why corporate America wanted to keep him. Though he was at the top of his game as a Print Production Specialist for a big name in the industry and then recruited for his talent by another big name, no corporation could throw enough money at him in exchange for his happiness. “I got fed up with the corporate B.S. and quit corporate work to join my wife to operate our Minuteman Press franchise, which she bought in 2007. She bought it when I was working for Konica and though I worked twice as many hours at 25% of the money at the time, I knew I wasn’t happy in the workforce and it wasn’t worth my time to stay.”
Karl’s instinct to join forces with his wife, Nancy, infused the digital print, design and marketing center with his honest, driven, business intelligence and brought the couple to work together on their own family business. It was a decision that was a gift to the community they serve in Beaver Falls, PA.
As the couple’s joint efforts continue to honor the Minuteman Press brand through re-alignment to the proven system from which the previous owner trailed away. In fact, they represent the best of their family of franchise owners worldwide, but it was not without incredible focus and hard work. Karl explains, “It was an underperforming franchise and we turned the operation into a success. We updated all the technology and improved everything from quality to the level of customer service.” Intelligent management and the beginning of building a business that is well-respected today.
Doing the right thing by each person with whom he works is a virtue developed by observing his father run his own small business, and as an employee, Karl’s instinct to do so was stunted by corporate inflexibility. “I grew up with a small-business mentality which meant I knew the value of simply doing the right thing by people. My Dad owned a contracting business and if something went wrong, he would fix it. He made sure things were right even if it cost him a little money. I was working in sales, but the frustration there existed in the limitation of corporate red tape when I was not able to do what I thought was the right thing for the customers. We make people feel important here in Beaver Falls the way my Dad did. I know my customers personally and we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If there is an issue on a job and we could have or should have avoided it, we simply fix it. It is part of a plan we implemented two years ago, called ACE (Awesome Customer Experience),” Karl explains.
Doing the right thing also includes a nod to his faithful staff, without whom, it seems, the awesome customer experience would not be possible. “I have a great staff and they can handle everything that comes in. There have been equipment failures and we have hand-folded 1000, tri-fold letters. Our manager is Kim Richardson and she is the manager of the production process and usually, the first point of contact. Then, we have two talented designers, Tracy Hagar, who has twenty years of design experience and Megan Roseman who graduated with a degree in design in 2015. We also have a part-time pressman, Nick Locar, who’s always there when we need him.”
As far as the couple running the whole show, Nancy and Karl learned their roles were most efficient if they choose to divide and conquer (as the saying goes). “Nancy stays out of the shop and handles all of our bookwork. We discovered, after about a year, that if we wanted to stay married, we could not work for long in the same physical space. I work in-shop and as I accomplish my list of things to do, it quickly becomes time to work on marketing. I make my deliveries personally and take care of marketing calls so we can keep growing,” Karl says.
“We Are The Modern Printing Industry” is the call of all Minuteman Press franchise owners and Karl is sensitive to the layperson who may not be savvy to the industries technical vocabulary. “During our free consultations, we make it easy to do business with us and realize that people are not going to understand our unique vocabulary so we break it down to make certain they not only understand what they are ordering, but are also in a better position to make sure it is what they need.” He adds, “Also, if they want to do their own design, if it is within reason, we help them to submit it to us in a “print ready” fashion without additional charge.”
“People know when you are being truthful and when things happen, as they do, customers know I look to make everything right and we do pretty much whatever it takes to meet their deadlines.” – Karl Chapple
With small business owners and impressively large companies relying upon Minuteman Press, Karl reflects on a common theme that makes what he does for a living particularly satisfying. “It’s helping people. Our job is helping them do their job better and when we succeed at that, it is most satisfying.” He says, “Our clients represent medical offices, hair salons, legal firms, residential contractors, car dealerships and we even have a commercial building company. Some of the more impressive commercial buildings you see out there were built by one of our clients. Everyone and anybody in need of design, print and marketing assistance comes to us and we welcome that.”
Shell Chemical is exploring new possibilities all the time and Minuteman Press in Beaver Falls is always there to deliver unique design, marketing and printing projects.
One of the largest companies in the world, Royal Dutch Shell, is building a six billion dollar ethane cracker plant in the local area. It will put natural gas to use in the production of raw material to make needed products. Shell Chemical trusts Minuteman Press because experience doing so proved beneficial with early print orders. Today, they work together on a range of projects.
“Through a connection at the Chamber of Commerce I met a representative from the company as Shell Chemical was looking for a potential construction site for their new plant. They sent a team into our area several years ago to evaluate the site and the community and they held public meetings for our community. At the time, their consultant through the Chamber of Commerce remembered and contacted us to do some typical printing for them in 2014. Today, we continue to do good work for them and in fact, we have done several 86,000 EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) campaigns. We also work with their offices in Texas, England and get files from their design offices from all over the world in order to help them progress in their endeavors.”
Karl is able to make the lives of Shell Chemical’s local representatives a little easier at times when last-minute changes leave little time for error. “I am sympathetic to those working in larger corporations as it can be challenging to get things done on time. On occasion, we jump in and make on-the-fly changes for them and it is appreciated as deadlines are met.”
When two well-respected names in business come together to create something, creativity is going to be needed. Minuteman Press and Shell Chemical partnered to create a unique way to let a great number of people know that jobs would be available in particular specialties. Karl explains, “We do a neat job, part of their efforts to hire a workforce for the plant, which will be state-of-the-art, advanced manufacturing. They will employ a lot of qualified people because this plant creates at least 6,000 skilled jobs during construction. So, we got together and printed a packet of 19 cards for different positions that Shell Chemical is going to fill. We created them to look like baseball cards with a picture of an individual working in that position on the front and job qualifications printed on the back, including pay scales. We printed it on synthetic paper for durability and put them in a shrink-wrapped package.”
The initiative has been very helpful to Shell Chemical and the good jobs are welcome news for professionals in the area. Care is required as Karl continues, “It is a labor-intensive project as we split the cards and use a shrink-wrap machine, producing 1,000 at a time. It is a fun job, though and it is apparently effective as we have now produced them several times. They take them to job fairs and to high schools for distribution.”
Joe Minnitte, External Relations Advisor for Shell Chemical, confirms not only the effectiveness of the refreshing printed-card project for recruitment, but for all of the results gained from his partnership with Karl and his staff. “Karl and the whole team at Minuteman Press in Beaver Falls, PA have been fantastic to work with over the last several years! Their dedication comes through from the initial design of a project all the way through execution. They have worked both small and large scale print/design jobs for us over the years and they always deliver a quality product. As we move into the future, we look forward to continuing our relationship with Minuteman Press.”