Meet the team at Minuteman Press, Richmond, KY – Left to Right: Pete Cummings, Co-Owner; Michael McCracken, production manager; and Chuck Bentley, co-owner. (Not pictured: Graham Allen, graphic designer)
Richmond, Ky. – Pete Cummings and Chuck Bentley have owned their Minuteman Press printing and marketing franchise in Richmond since May 2014. While the COVID-19 pandemic was certainly the biggest challenge for local people and businesses everywhere globally, Pete and Chuck have been successful in staying open as a core business, tailoring their products and services to the needs of local businesses during the pandemic, and positioning themselves for sales growth during and after the pandemic through their hard work.
Pete says, “At the onset of the pandemic, we were as alarmed as anyone not only about what this might do for our business, but also for our community and even for the country as a whole. The prospect of going through months of an economic downturn worried us at first. However, we remained optimistic and determined to take advantage of all the unique opportunities the pandemic has presented to those of us in the print world. “
He continues, “It quickly became apparent that businesses allowed to stay open would need COVID-related printing and signs in order to both help customers safely and stay in compliance with national ordinances and local. We discovered that some organizations had received grants from the federal government to meet the safety requirements related to the pandemic. We looked at these agencies to let them know we were open as a business essential and local to them. They responded well to our outreach efforts and we ended up making a considerable volume of decals, signs, logo-printed face masks and other safety related products. Almost all of the businesses that chose to stay open had similar printing needs related to the pandemic and we wanted to do everything we could, especially for our small local businesses, to provide them with whatever we could to help them navigate. in these unknown waters.
“We mainly grew our business in 2020 with an expanded offering of signage, floor decals, posters, direct mail and other essential printed items. We expect 2021 to see continued growth as more local businesses reopen and come back online. -Pete Cummings, Co-Owner, Minuteman Press Franchise, Richmond, Kentucky
Support local businesses during and after the pandemic
Over the past year, Minuteman Press in Richmond has continued to reach out to local businesses when they reopen. Pete says, “We have seen a positive response from local business owners. Many of them also seem happy to see that we are functioning and still being successful, as we try to help them achieve their own successes in these difficult times. I think in some ways we’ve had a galvanizing effect for local businesses because we’re all in the same boat. It is this “spirit of will” that can truly uplift others and we are grateful to be a part of it. “
As other restrictions continue to be lifted and other local businesses reopen and recover, Pete and Chuck stand ready to help them with personalized printing products and marketing services. Pete says, “Because we have been open all the time, Minuteman Press has the experience of helping all different types of businesses in all different phases of the pandemic. We have proven ourselves to be a valuable partner and are delighted to provide our business community with as many resources as possible to enhance their marketing and sales efforts. “
Pete continues, “Now that the tide is turning on the pandemic, we are encouraging our customers to resume their direct marketing efforts. As conferences and events pick up, we promote all of our capabilities, including printed table throws, retractable banners, trade show displays, conference related signage and promotional products. “
Direct mail has been another key area of growth that Minuteman Press in Richmond has experienced during the pandemic. Pete is also excited about the future of direct mail. He says, “Surviving and thriving over the past year has required some adaptation. Over the past year, direct marketing has become very difficult and social distancing has become the norm. To continue to grow, we turned to direct mail as an additional revenue stream. Based on the success we have seen from these efforts, we have decided to fully embrace direct mail. We would certainly encourage other businesses to use direct mail as a way to “connect” with potential customers when starting up and reopening. “
“Contrary to what some would like to believe, the impression is not dead. The increased demand for direct mail can be explained in part by the “contactless” environment of the pandemic era. Having said that, I think it also shows how print advertising campaigns, when used effectively, can deliver meaningful results for our customers. We have also diversified our offerings with signs, promotional items and clothing. This gives our customers the convenience of doing it all under one roof with a trusted person who will give them the level of service and quality they expect. So, the printing industry has evolved, but those who evolve with the industry will experience continued success. -Pete Cummings
Meet the people behind the business
As Pete and Chuck celebrate seven years in business this month, they reflect on their journey as well as their experiences as Minuteman Press franchise owners. One interesting thing to note is that Pete and Chuck come from two very different backgrounds and had no printing experience before joining the Minuteman Press family.
Pete explains, “I worked in a bank for about ten years after graduating from college and then owned / operated an outpatient pediatric rehabilitation center, providing speech and occupational therapy services to children. We were out of our home state of Kentucky at the time and once we had kids we decided to go home. The same opportunities did not exist to operate a rehabilitation center, but I had small business ownership in my blood at the time and was actively looking for a good opportunity.
He continues: “Chuck was a schoolteacher for ten years and he was getting more and more restless. He started looking for a business opportunity that would allow more financial freedom for his family. He told his uncle, Garry Conley, who happened to own a Minuteman Press franchise in London, Kentucky, with Chuck’s aunt, Amy Conley. We sat down with Garry and he did a really good job explaining the benefits. It was obvious he was running a profitable operation, so we listened intently and after meeting with our Regional Vice President Gary Nowak, we decided to take the plunge.
“We opened in 2014 with zero customers and have experienced steady growth every year since. Our rate of jobs in relation to jobs earned is very high. We built the business, especially in the early years, using direct marketing heavily with the Minuteman Press Internet Marketing Program. Sometimes asking people for the opportunity to earn their business is all it takes to open the door to that first job. And once we get that first opportunity, we’ll almost always turn that person into a loyal customer in the near future or somewhere down the road. Providing a quality product with good and friendly service is very important. -Pete Cummings
As Pete reflects on the past seven years and especially 2020, when the pandemic first hit, he’s grateful to be a part of the Minuteman Press franchise family. He says, “We are very grateful for the efforts that Minuteman Press International has made early enough in the pandemic to help franchisees thrive. There is no doubt that things could have turned out differently. From ongoing advice on how to operate as a business essential to launching the free Bounce Back program to support local businesses, all of these were instrumental in helping us get through this unprecedented time.
When asked about the benefits of owning a business, Pete replies, “Financial freedom and the feeling that we can control our own destiny for us are the greatest rewards of business ownership. We cannot fall victim to a downsizing of a company or have our jobs shipped overseas. We certainly work hard to be successful, but these efforts are aimed at building something that directly benefits our families.
As for what advice he would be giving to local businesses right now, Pete sums it up best by saying, “Don’t lose heart. I know this has been a difficult year, but as more and more sectors of the economy pick up steam, economic opportunities will return. “
Pete Cummings and Chuck Bentley’s Minuteman Press franchise is located at 202 Wayne Dr., Ste. A; Richmond, KY 40475. For more information call 859-314-1172 or visit their website: https://www.richmondky.minutemanpress.com.
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