Dave and Jane Johnson are veteran, respected marketing services providers on top of the modern printing industry in Florida.
In 2008, the recession disrupted a lot of plans, but it also prompted the strongest leaders to consider abandoning their high-paying (but vulnerable) jobs in favor of entrepreneurship. Some were not bold enough to take the risk. Others, like Dave Johnson, did not flounder. They responded to the economic bust by rising up and radically changing their lives, they hoped, for the better. He is unshakable in his determination to fix things, a natural virtue of a man who made a career by managing an engineering group in a local technology company. “My company got sold offshore when the recession of ’08 hit and I was looking for a job with three kids in college and I had a house I couldn’t sell because it was such a tough market. So, I decided to stop looking for a job and to be the boss. You have to be willing to take some risks to be a boss and I was ready.” He just needed to find a business and buy it.
Printing was not Dave’s original industry of choice. Yet, he came from a B2B background and knew as he searched businesses for sale, he was certain he did not want a retail or food service franchise. He was educated and insisted on a higher level of life-satisfaction and grueling nights and weekend work were not part of the plan for him and his wife, Jane. “Printing was the last thing I was interested in when I was figuring out what opportunity would be right for me. But I looked at dozens of deals and franchise agreements and through it all, Minuteman Press Regional Vice President, Jeff Robey, followed-up on my progress. It turned out that of all the ones I reviewed, Minuteman Press had the most fair franchise agreement of them all. Then, the right chance to buy an existing printing business was presented to us by Jeff and it was close to our home, so we went for it. Years later, we are very happy with the decision.”
The Minuteman Press center in Coral Springs was not managed according to the system of operations that has served thousands of entrepreneurs so well, even through the time they wish to retire. So, it fell upon Dave and Jane to come in, take the reins and bring the entire operation back to the proven system, with the addition of their own capabilities and drive. “The business was troubled when we bought it, but we turned it around and have gotten nice growth out of it.”
Though Dave has a strong history of competence running large organizations for other companies, he knows entrepreneurship is levels ahead of simply having a job. He says, “There is a lot more to learn. I’ve never run a venture funded by my own money in this way and it changes your perspective, when it is your own investment. Perhaps the toughest lesson is found in controlling costs. I will add that we are retiring older technology for the new and my new equipment will pay for itself within a year.”
“My wife, Jane and I are partners and she deserves equal credit in making this franchise fly. I take care of the marketing and networking and Jane manages the operations inside the center.” – Dave Johnson, owner, Minuteman Press in Coral Springs, FL
Employees of Minuteman Press franchises tend to appreciate the chance to develop good careers in the modern printing industry and they tend to stick around. Such is the case in Dave Johnson’s location. He explains, “Our press operator, Herman Salcedo, has been with this center for nineteen years and I have owned it for nine years.” The strong team Dave and Jane have put together is a credit to their leadership. He continues, “We also have a designer, Yolanda, a CSR, Joanne Hayes, Marty Jenner helping with deliveries part time – plus a couple of additional people I retain to help us out when we are in a pinch.”
Though he worked in marketing during his engineering career, Dave described it more as “highly technical, of course” and there was little room for the kind of enjoyment he gets to indulge today as he builds business together with his clients. “I think what I enjoy about the B2B environment is that working with a business means really partnering with them and whatever it may be, from helping them reduce costs, improve sales it is fun to help them achieve their objectives. THAT is the reward for our hard work.”
Their competitors (primarily online printers or local office supply chains with printing departments) tend to do cookie cutter jobs, but Minuteman Press provides customized solutions for everyone. As Dave says, “We provide a level of service that takes pressure off of people who come to us frustrated. Often, they have come from our competitors, who do not understand the product that well or they tried an online printer, but they aren’t designers and are unhappy with what is delivered. They learn we are here to relieve them of all of that stress. We also gain new customers through referrals when we make people happy and referrals are one of the top two sources of new customers for us.”
Namedrops, Inc. offers unique, customized accessories for children and adults and Minuteman Press is their partner in growth.
Offering functional and fun products designed with unique backgrounds, Namedrops makes everyone feel special. It is no wonder they, too, insisted on special treatment and are partnered with Dave Johnson and his staff for special projects. For kids going away to sleep-away camp, Namedrops specializes in different products to make the experience unforgettable and their marketing services provider supports this effort.
“The owner of Namedrops, Mindy Guttentag, makes her business a hit by designing and selling a range of customized items. We help her when it comes to producing customized, contour-cut stickers with themes for kids who are attending camps that she sells through her website. She was working with another printer but was unhappy with their lack of options,” explains Dave.
Mindy began working with Minuteman Press five years ago and stayed because she preferred how her brand was represented and made an offer to Dave that helped him make a new technology purchase. “At the time, we didn’t have contour cutting, but she said she would move all of her business over to use if we could do that service for her. She was the tipping point that made me buy our cutter, giving her great options. I like to think we helped her grow a lot over the years. She has been growing steadily and I can tell because her orders placed with us have grown steadily, too. Our designer works very closely with her because we need to take her art and tend to a very technically precise process. It has to be a close relationship for it all to work, so we help her with new ideas and how to execute them. She is a great client,” according to Dave.
“Minuteman Press of Coral Springs has been a tremendous asset to my business from day one.” – Mindy Guttentag, business owner, Namedrops
Mindy recalls the earliest reason she felt at home with her Minuteman Press partnership, “I actually refer to them as “my printing department.” Originally, we started working together because they helped me find a repositionable fabric adhesive. I had this crazy idea to design and sell this type of adhesive to my customers. Together we found a source for the product. Almost 5 years later it is still my #1 selling product. Namedrops is constantly introducing new products into our very competitive market and Minuteman Press of Coral Springs has almost always been able to help in one way or another.
And as Dave suspected, her business growth is something she credits to their work together. She says, “Minuteman Press has definitely helped me grow my business. They are able to complete projects within one or two days. Which is key in my industry. Customers like to get their orders quick, so a speedy turnaround time is imperative. Moving forward I am confident we will continue to grow our businesses together. I work from home so having Minuteman Press on board allows Namedrops to be a bigger company than our working space allows.”
Mindy concludes brightly, “I look forward to many more years of working with Dave, Jane and Joanne. They make my job easier and it is always a pleasure to give them my printing business.”