New Jersey-Based Minuteman Press Franchise Celebrates 30 Years in Business
When Frank Bittner, Jr. first worked alongside his dad Frank, Sr., it was March of 1990. “I was 17, still in high school, and it was the summer before senior year,” reflects Frank, Jr. “I was working on bindery and making deliveries for our Trenton shop, which we owned for two years before opening our Minuteman Press franchise in Cherry Hill. It’s amazing to think that was 32 years ago.”
In October 1992, Frank, Sr. opened Minuteman Press in Cherry Hill, and 30 years later, Frank, Jr. and his wife Kelly are still owning and operating the family business. Frank, Jr. says, “The chance to work side by side with my dad for all those years was incredibly special. I started managing the shop in 1997, and Kelly and I bought the shop from my dad 5 or 6 years ago. My Uncle Joe also came on board early on and runs our Hainesport shop today, so this truly is a family business all the way around.”
Keys to Success
Frank doesn’t hesitate when sharing the biggest key to success for Minuteman Press in Cherry Hill. He says, “We build relationships with our clients, and we simply do not give them a reason to leave us.”
He continues, “We’ve had many clients for over 20 years, and some since Day 1. For example, we’ve been working with some of the local car dealerships since we opened. Once customers find you and know they can rely on you, cost is not a factor because there is real trust in that relationship.”
“What it really comes down to is being personable, developing that trust, and forming a tight bond that leads to residual / repeat customers. Providing that personal service along with the products they need is how we’ve been successful.” -Frank Bittner, Jr., Owner, Minuteman Press, Cherry Hill, NJ
Expanding Products & Services
During the pandemic, Minuteman Press in Cherry Hill remained open and operating as an essential business. As a result, Frank saw a trend that continues to help his business today.
He shares, “One thing we noticed during the pandemic was that a lot of local municipalities were spending, buying additional products from us we hadn’t done for them previously. We had a rise in sales from those municipal groups, townships, and county offices. As a result, we are now taking more orders from them today, such as plastic ID cards and plaques for their employees. We already had done some of their printing for retractable banners, carbonless forms, and envelopes, and now we are getting to do more.”
Just by contacting other local businesses during the pandemic to see how they were doing has helped increase business today. Frank shares, “We wanted to simply show that we care and still available to help our clients. At that time, we put a strong focus on in-house Every Door Direct Mail, and our EDDM business really took off.”
He adds, “In addition to mailings, clients are now coming back to us with orders for trade show supplies, wide format printing, promo products, apparel, items for community events and job fairs, raffles and tickets for local events, and more.”
“I think people still want something in their hands. They might be used to their phones but having a tangible printed marketing piece that shows bullet-points is special. Print will always be a vital tool of information.” -Frank Bittner, Jr.
Marketing the Business
Cherry Hill, NJ is the largest suburb in New Jersey outside of Philadelphia. It is home to mostly small to mid-sized businesses, as well as local schools and organizations. To market his business in Cherry Hill, Frank has followed the Minuteman Press system for over 30 years.
Frank says, “I am in the same two networking groups that my dad first joined, the Voorhees Business Association (VBA) and the Marlton Business Association (MBA). We are also members of the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce. It is important to get involved and have that personal relationship with members of your community. No matter what you are selling, it’s you that they buy into. I am not a faceless entity, I am Frank the owner, and that makes a huge difference.”
In addition, Frank also participates in the Minuteman Press Internet Marketing Program. “It’s great to have that program in place to generate online leads as it’s another we to secure orders and then develop relationships with clients.”
Support from Minuteman Press
When it comes to being part of Minuteman Press, support comes in many ways. Frank says, “The support from Minuteman Press is always there when I need it, and this has always been the case. They have helped with employee training and staffing, provided great advice, and our Regional VP Rich Hornberger is a tremendous asset to us. Rich truly cares about the owners in his region, and I always appreciate his input.”
Frank also appreciates the FLEX software as he has seen its evolution and enhancements over the years. “FLEX is so valuable and robust for pricing, marketing, and management. It’s great to see that some popular suggestions from owners are implemented. I love the integration with our vendors and the idea of getting deposits ahead of time is fantastic. Anything to make quotes easier and receiving payments easier is a huge benefit to our business.”
During the first days and weeks of the pandemic, Frank credits the daily emails and communications he received from Minuteman Press World Headquarters and Nick Titus for reassuring him at a crucial time. “The emails we received from Nick were fantastic and I looked forward to them every day. They also helped us quickly pivot by implementing new marketing strategies and sell essential products. When everything first shut down, I couldn’t help but think about my family and my business. That lasted 3 days, and then we came back into the shop, the phones kept ringing, and we did not miss a beat.”
He continues, “Without assistance from corporate, and without that morale boost at such a critical time, I don’t know if we would have been able to bounce back so quickly. It was also a huge asset to have the other franchise owners in our system to exchange ideas and share advice. All of that was extremely valuable.”
“We were encouraged to keep plugging away, and that’s what we did. We printed masks using heat transfer. We printed new menus for restaurants, and we filled our community with graduation signs for the local schools we had relationships with. By remaining open, we helped one of our energy customers ramp up their mailings with EDDM and personalized mailings, and their sales have doubled since the pandemic. They are now one of our biggest clients.” -Frank Bittner, Jr.
Rewards & Advice for Others
As he reflects on 32 years, Frank shares, “Flexibility and quality of life are the two biggest rewards to being your own boss. I have been able to set my own schedule and be there for my kids. I’ve allowed my employees to have that same flexibility so we can all share that same mindset of caring about the business but being there for our families”
When asked what advice he would give to others, Frank says, “I am a big believer in cross-training my employees. My advice is to have one or two key people who can do everything from front to back. Also, don’t expect to come in and not be present. You need to be present, and you need to be proactive.”
Frank concludes, “Minuteman Press International is always moving forward. They fine-tune what is the next step and are on top of industry trends. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience and follow the system. That’s what we’ve done now for over 30 years and counting.”
The preceding press release was provided by a company unaffiliated with Printing Impressions. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of the staff of Printing Impressions.