Minuteman Press family-owned printing franchise in Chesterfield celebrates 25 years in business

July 22, 2019
Minuteman Press printing franchise, Chesterfield, Missouri – L-R: Tom Weiskircher, Marie Weiskircher, Bryan O'Brien, and Greg Lester Minuteman Press printing franchise, Chesterfield, Missouri – L-R: Tom Weiskircher, Marie Weiskircher, Bryan O'Brien, and Greg Lester

For 25 years, Marie Weiskircher, Tom Weiskircher, and their son U.S. Navy Veteran Greg Lester have run a successful Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise while maintaining work/life balance and a tightknit relationship. Greg says, “Our printing company is a family business. Besides all of the business opportunities it has afforded us, this journey has also been a great bonding experience for three generations of our family. Virtually everyone in our family has worked at least in a part time position at one time or another.”

Before they decided to work together in Chesterfield and join the Minuteman Press franchise family, Marie was as a bank administrator while Tom worked as a sales representative for National Lock. Greg expands on his background, saying, “I was an officer in the Navy. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1983, I served on the USS Dubuque (LPD-8), USS Callaghan (DDG-994), USS Fanning (FF-1076), and USS Gridley (CG-21).”

One thing they all had in common is that they did not have any printing industry experience before franchising with Minuteman Press. Greg says, “We liked Minuteman Press for three reasons:

  • First, the potential business growth was unlimited.
  • Second, Minuteman Press has a great reputation for giving its business owners the support they need to prosper without putting a lot of restrictions/rules on its franchise owners. Many of the other franchise opportunities we investigated forced its franchises to be open certain hours, use certain required marketing, buy materials only from certain vendors, etc.
  • Third, the royalty was reasonable especially since there is a cap.”

Marie further explains how Minuteman Press International provides comprehensive training and how the franchisor continues to support them today: “Our family had zero connection to printing when we went to the franchise show in 1994, so without Minuteman we would not have been able to get our business off the ground. The training we received in New York and the instruction we received from our local field representatives were invaluable to establishing our business foundation. Through the years, Minuteman Press has pointed us to new technology, new marketing options, and new business opportunities. Additionally, they have saved us money by negotiating a great lease with our landlord, and allowed us to receive great leasing and pricing via their national contracts.”

The digital printing revolution offers new opportunities

The printing industry today is vastly different from 1994, when Marie, Tom, and Greg first opened their doors. Digital printing technology has opened the floodgates to new products and services, and Minuteman Press stays on top of the latest trends that benefit their customers. Greg explains, “Today everything is digital. When we first opened, it was darkroom, metal plates, etc. The digital printing revolution has allowed us to offer a much greater range of services to our customers, and full-color digital printing is more cost-effective and faster than ever before.”

One important aspect of owning a thriving family business that hasn’t changed in 25 years is the need to build relationships and make meaningful connections with clients and the community. Tom says, “We always try to develop partnerships with our customers, and those relationships allow us to anticipate their present and future printing needs. We still have more than a few of the customers that started with us right after we opened in 1994.”

He continues, “We work with virtually any type of small to medium size business. Our clients have included schools, realtors, equity companies, gyms, model/acting companies, doctors, dentists, churches, chiropractors, restaurants, apartment complexes, sign companies, equipment sales companies, insurance companies, a barge company, hospitals, ballet/dance companies, plumbers, electricians, etc. You name it, we can design and print it!”

Meet the Minuteman Press franchise team, Chesterfield, Missouri – L-R: Marie Weiskircher, Tom Weiskircher, Bryan O'Brien, and Greg Lester

Greg adds, “For example, Oaktree, a hearing equipment distributor, is one of our oldest clients and they started around the same time we did. We have grown together. They just moved into a new facility and we like to think some of their success came because of our printing. Also, the administrative office at the city of Wildwood is another one of our oldest customers. The city of Wildwood was founded in 1995, and we have been their printer ever since. Wildwood’s current population is 35,000 so the area has seen tremendous growth in the last 25 years.”

Tom also adds a point about the importance of having the right staff to get the job done. He says, “Our press operator Bryan O’Brien joined us in 1998. He’s experienced and is a great asset for us. In a small business it’s so important to have the right people in place.”

Rewards of owning a business

Aside from the success they have achieved from a business standpoint, the team at Minuteman Press in Chesterfield finds personal satisfaction in “the longstanding customer relationships, and the pro bono things we print for charitable groups.”

Getting involved in the community is also a point of focus. Greg states, “We have been involved with two different BNI groups, the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce, the West County Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary. Quite a few of our customers learned of our services through these organizations.”

Keith Cawley is Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President in Missouri. He says, “The team of Minuteman Press in Chesterfield continues to support their customers and community today just as they have for the past 25 years. Marie, Tom, and Greg are exemplary business owners, they treat people right, and they have thrived as a result.”

Secrets to success and advice for others

What makes Minuteman Press in Chesterfield a success story? Greg answers, “The secret to success in printing is treat your customer base right, have a good marketing plan, and keep up with technology. It is really that simple. We also continue to set goals and our next business goal is to expand our wide format printing business.”

The team’s advice for others is this: “Getting new customers obviously takes work, which is why cultivating good relationships with your current customers is critical. Also, stick with your marketing plan. For example, we hired someone to continually hand out flyers to businesses in our area. We did not see any business from those flyers for over 3 months. We have now had that program going for around 4 years, and it has been one of our most successful marketing programs.”

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