Entrepreneur Who Was a Parking Lot Attendant, Now Successful Minuteman Owner
PHILADELPHIA—July 16, 2015—Jude Arijaje is an opportunist, an entrepreneur, and an inspiration. In 2000, Arijaje came from Nigeria to Philadelphia and was determined to become a success story both in life and business. After working as a parking lot attendant and leveraging the relationships he formed with others in his community, Arijaje went into business as an independent real estate broker. As a real estate agent, Arijaje would spend thousands of dollars per year on printing a wide variety of promotional materials such as signs, flyers, banners and countless other items. This is when he saw another business opportunity come to light in the form of the Minuteman Press franchise, and in 2008, Arijaje began a new chapter in his entrepreneurial career by opening his Minuteman Press business.
Flash forward to 2015, and all of Arijaje’s hard work along with his investment in a proven commodity such as the Minuteman Press franchise system has truly paid off. Arijaje’s Minuteman Press franchise in Philadelphia has just celebrated robust year-over-year sales growth, doubling its revenues from 2014. "There’s really nothing called luck in this business," said Arijaje when asked about the biggest factors in his sales growth. "It’s a combination of everything including following the Minuteman Press program and getting out there. My growth this year is an accumulation of seven to eight years of relentless networking, of shaking hands and putting our small business on the map."
When it comes to owning a small business, networking is only part of the equation. Another huge factor in thriving as an entrepreneur is being able to offer products and services that are in high demand. Arijaje is well aware of this fact, and that is one of the reasons he decided to become a Minuteman Press business owner: "With Minuteman Press, I feel like we truly are able to gauge the pulse of the community in a very effective way. Our services go way beyond printing and because we are entering into business partnerships with other business owners, we are able to give them the most diverse offerings while still catering to their individual needs on a highly personalized level. We have truly branded ourselves as a one-stop shop. When we say that, we don’t even say printing services, we say marketing services."
Arijaje’s story of success is one that has not gone unnoticed by the entire Minuteman Press franchise community. "Jude’s enthusiasm, dedication to exceeding his customers’ needs and his overflowing abundance of positive attitude helps him to not only open doors to new business, but also cements his relationships with these customers, ensuring repeat business from them," noted Richard Hornberger, Minuteman Press regional vice president, who provides ongoing local support to Minuteman Press entrepreneurs in Philadelphia and Northern New Jersey.
Ask Arijaje to expand upon the types of services Minuteman Press can provide to his clients in Philadelphia and he lights up as he reels off one example after another—from a professional sports franchise that needed a huge banner done in one hour and thanked him for his help to countless small business owners who come to him for direct mail advertising services.
Arijaje commented, "Rather than being left with 1,000 printed postcards that are simply handed out on the street, those 1,000 postcards can be sent directly to the type of customers they are targeting, all through our Minuteman Press franchise. They will save money with our services and generate more business, and that is just one way we can help any business with our advice, knowledge and expertise.
Promotional products are another growing market for Arijaje that has helped his Minuteman Press franchise double in revenues this past year. While custom branded T-shirts are the number one selling promotional items for Arijaje, he has also capitalized on yet another business opportunity in the form of his annual Customer Appreciation Day that enables him to show appreciation for his customers while also showing off the kind of promotional products that Minuteman Press can produce for them.
"Customer Appreciation Day has become huge for us. It’s great because it’s become an annual tradition and every April all of our customers are invited to come to us. We give them food, drinks, music, gifts, T-shirts, promotional items, and one of the major things we found out is that every single year we’ve done this we recoup all of that business. By the next week, we’ve more than made our money back."
Arijaje then tells the story of a real estate agent who placed a custom order based on one of this year’s promotional items that they wanted tailored to their needs and produced in the shape of a house. He was able to fill that order easily because of the one-stop shop that Minuteman Press has become. On that note, Arijaje said, "When you build loyalty and show you care, you will be able to retain customers and acquire new business based on their referrals and the quality of our services."
The care that Arijaje shows in business is also seen in his passion for the community around him: "Every summer, we welcome kids from local Philadelphia schools to work with us as interns in order to help keep them off the streets. We do this because we want to show the community that we truly care and want to be part of the change that Philadelphia needs. It starts with passion and I love what I do, but I also love the impact we can have as well in these areas."
It’s been an amazing journey for Arijaje from Nigeria to Philadelphia, from parking lot attendant to Minuteman Press success story. When asked about the keys to his continued business growth, Arijaje is quick to give credit where credit is due: "There are no two ways about it—The Minuteman Press franchise program works. I invested 45-50K to buy my Philadelphia franchise and the best thing I did was follow the system and not try to reinvent the wheel. When I first started out, I pounded the pavement and met with every single business owner around to start building those relationships. What has happened now is that I have built a profitable business with a loyal following that keeps growing thanks to following the Minuteman Press program.
"I apply those same practices I learned in training today. And when it comes to support, my regional vice president Richard Hornberger and field marketing representative Steven Rydzewski, are always there for me whenever I need anything. During the last political season, I called upon the local support team that Minuteman Press makes available to me, and Steve came in and helped us manage the rush. He did an awesome job and it’s amazing that Minuteman Press puts these pieces in place for that kind of local help right in my store."
Arijaje concluded, "I am in a huge city in Philadelphia near Broad Street. In spite of the competition both online and elsewhere, I am in a really good place. Thanks to following the Minuteman Press franchise program, my ability to establish these business partnerships and retain clients—and my passion for reaching out to help improve the businesses and lives of those in my city—I am able to thrive, and I am extremely proud of that fact.”