Minuteman Press franchise in Sarasota celebrates 25 years as second-generation family printing business

July 10, 2019
Bob and Teresa Stone behind the counter of Minuteman Press, Sarasota, FL in the 1990s. The business has been in the family for 25 years Bob and Teresa Stone behind the counter of Minuteman Press, Sarasota, FL in the 1990s. The business has been in the family for 25 years

To run a family business for 25 years is a big achievement that is not lost on Minuteman Press franchise owner Bob Stone. Bob says, “You do something for a few years and everyone forgets but when you do the same work for 25 years, it defines you. For me it means I am Bob from Minuteman Press. For my wife Teresa it gives her an opportunity to support the non-profit organizations that mean the most to her and showcase her art. What was once a hobby is now an income stream through prints, lithographs, fabric printing, and murals. To the boys, it gives them a real sense of being part of the community. The connections we have here in this small little seaside village really creates strong ties to the community. Everybody needs printing and when your parents own the best not-so-little print center in town, well, you get to know a lot of people.”

Growing a Successful Printing Business with Minuteman Press

Bob and Teresa have been part of Minuteman Press in Sarasota since the beginning, when Teresa’s parents John and Barbara bought the franchise in 1994. Prior to joining the family business, Bob worked in advertising and Teresa ran American Eagle Outfitters in New York.

Bob explains, “Teresa and I were 25 when we came down from New York to work with her parents. We were just kids, more invested in making friends in this new place and going to the beach on the weekends. But we worked hard and we also grew, and we did everything for our customers then and now. We used to do business cards using spot color thermography, and we sold printing to every plumber, landscaper, electrician, and business person that decided they were what this town needed. The more we marketed, the more we grew.”

There have obviously been changes to the printing industry that Bob and Teresa have experienced, and with the support of the Minuteman Press franchise system including Florida Regional Vice President Jeff Robey, they have continued to grow and remain ahead of the curve. Bob says, “Why have we stuck with Minuteman Press? Well even after 25 years there are things I don’t know. There are new revenue streams and opportunities. No one is better than Minuteman Press Executive VP Mike Jutt and his team at getting us into new products and making great deals for us.”

Bob continues, “There is no way we can talk about Minuteman Press and the quality organization that it is without mentioning Jeff Robey. When Teresa’s parents got sick shortly after the purchase, we had to learn to do everything ourselves. Teresa was at the hospital with her mother on the 6th floor and her dad on the 9th. Jeff was there for us during this crucial time and that is something we will never forget.”

Bob and Teresa Stone, Minuteman Press printing franchise owners, Sarasota, FL – 2019 photo

Fortuitous Move and the Power of Direct Marketing

In 2015, Bob and Teresa experienced a fortuitous move to a new location. Bob says, “Our rent had increased so we decided to move. Teresa found a great space for us that happened to be near a water treatment plant. We ended up introducing ourselves and then started doing all of their printing. This led to more city work and country work, including the Health Department, the Sherriff’s Office, and the Police Department. We are in a 3,400 sq. ft. facility.”

One thing that has not changed over the years is the core values of the Minuteman Press franchise that Bob and Teresa continue to demonstrate for their clients. Bob says, “My message to people that want us to do their printing is simple. We print for people who care about what their printing looks like. We’ve been in this business long enough to understand the importance of quality. And quality comes at a price. There might be cheaper options than us, but nobody gives you more value. For example, we can do things like run 25,000-60,000 custom envelopes at a time, store them, and deliver them to the customers as soon as they need them.”

Why Ongoing Local Franchise Support Matters

Regardless of how long they have been in business, Bob still turns to Jeff Robey for crucial ongoing local support that Minuteman Press has put in place in Florida and throughout the franchise system. Bob explains, “After 25 years in the business, I still talk to Jeff at least three times per month about what’s going right what we can work on. He is a great sounding board and always reminds me to keep up with marketing. I can’t stress how important that is for growth even today.”

Asked about the rewards of owning a Minuteman Press franchise and building the business to where it is today, Bob answers, “Vacations! The idea that we can go on vacation and leave the staff in charge is a great feeling. It’s about picking the right people and training them properly. I still get phone calls but that’s not a big deal for us at all. We were on a hike once in Yellowstone and a client called me on my cell and ordered 25,000 full-color envelopes. I said no problem, called the shop told them what needed to be done, and they did it. The most rewarding thing about owning your own business is you get to pick the people you work with and they should deliver positive results for you.”

Giving back to the community is also huge for any business owner, including Bob and Teresa. He says, “Teresa works with non-profits that mean something to her. They mostly work with women and children in need. We have something unique we do. We print all the materials for a non-profit fundraiser and hold off billing them until after their fundraiser.”

For his part, Bob adds, “I am a member of the Rotary Club of Sarasota, a service club made up of business and community leaders. I find giving of my time is the best marketing. I also was previously in in BNI and I recommend it highly for people who don’t know anyone in town. Everyone in BNI needs a lot of business cards. The one thing that landed me a lot of local business in BNI was that I offered free business cards to the members of my chapter. Back then, all they needed to do was send me a camera-ready PDF. It got me noticed right away in the group and it built my credibility as a knowledgeable printer. Many of the members didn’t know what a PDF was or what camera-ready meant. I was able to educate them and therefore position myself to raise the confidence curve in a short amount of time.”

Bob and Teresa Stone (front and center) are second-generation owners of the Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise in Sarasota, Florida that has been their family business for 25 years

Secrets to Minuteman Press Success and Advice for Others

What are the secrets to running a successful Minuteman Press franchise? Bob answers, “Show up every day. Do the work. Return emails, answer customer questions, handle employee problems sooner rather than later. Get out there and do your own deliveries. Never be above any job. Do what Minuteman Press trained you to do.”

Bob adds, “Minuteman Press International in New York can give you the big picture of the overall industry. Listen to them but also learn your market and make yourself known. Your local Minuteman Press reps are there to support you. Listen to them and follow their advice. Most of the time you can’t be the only game in town, but you can be the best.”

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