Minuteman Press printing franchise in Whitby, Ontario gives clients a winning edge

April 09, 2019
Meet the Team of the Minuteman Press franchise, Whitby, Ontario, Canada - L-R: Chris Trewin, Melissa Fitzpatrick, Mike Vieira, and Alison Kinghorn. Not pictured (taking photo): Stewart Lawrence Meet the Team of the Minuteman Press franchise, Whitby, Ontario, Canada - L-R: Chris Trewin, Melissa Fitzpatrick, Mike Vieira, and Alison Kinghorn. Not pictured (taking photo): Stewart Lawrence

Before opening his Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise six years ago, Mike Vieira did not have experience running a business. He discovered that Minuteman Press franchise owners overcome those learning curves thanks to the steady training and support that his franchisor provides.

While Mike had experience in printing, he was able to meet with the industry’s finest minds during Minuteman Press training and get a fresh look from new angles. He came out ready to run a digital print, design and marketing center and the plan is working in Whitby, Ontario.

Mike worked at a large printing firm in Canada for twenty-five years, running the presses that printed the magazines that would eventually fall out of favor, causing his plant to close. It was time to make a move and he did not waste time. “It was either start a new career or buy a business. So, I took my severance pay and started hunting for new opportunities. I saw an ad for a digital print shop for sale and I called to meet Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President Kevin Wittal. We went on shop tours and I ultimately invested my money into a brand-new Minuteman Press franchise in 2013.”

“I started from scratch with my own printing franchise realizing that my knowledge of the industry was only one thing and being successful as a business owner is another thing entirely. It’s a learning curve to go from employee to business owner.” – Mike Vieira, Minuteman Press franchisee, Whitby, Ontario

As Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President in Toronto, Kevin Wittal is able to appreciate Mike’s personal dedication and the ways he incorporates the proven system. He says, “I've enjoyed working with Michael over the past few years, and I've come to learn that he is a very driven and focused individual. One of Mike’s greatest talents is his ability to work through issues and come up with a solution. He has paid close attention to the advice that has been given to him by the Minuteman Press International corporate office as well as his fellow franchise owners and he has used that advice to his advantage.”

The possibilities for those trusting his Minuteman Press franchise with marketing services are only going to expand and great things are in store for him. Kevin explains, “Mike's recent acquisition of a sign company has allowed him to take his business to the next level and I look forward to many more years of working with him and watching his business grow and succeed.”

Behind the scenes, Mike’s wife Lisa brings her experience as a sales manager for Telecom into the drive to let the community know that traditional business collateral, while vital, was only the beginning. “Lisa is able to help us with marketing and sales strategy and that has been a nice bonus for our growth.” Today, expert design and print professionals continue to make their careers within the walls of the Minuteman Press centre in Whitby. Mike explains, “Melissa and Allison are valuable designers and Chris, who has print experience from a family-run print business, runs our large format printing department, while Stewart oversees the store when I am away, making for key components in our staffing.”

Mike is a strong leader and he knows that the progress his business will make depends upon him first, with the strong support of Minuteman Press International. “At first, Kevin Wittal was here to help us, but we needed to figure out our own path because at some point, all business owners sink or swim on their own. I do call him and he is always there if I need something.” His proactive approach to entrepreneurship pays dividends as Mike realized it makes sense to keep the latest equipment in-house. He says, “We are almost completed renovating and expanding now to almost twice the space, so our local support team came in to observe how we are laying out our upgraded center. We needed more space because the added equipment allows us to do more ourselves and that lets us control our projects more.”

The community of Whitby now has a place in which, at Mike’s insistence, they feel personally attended. While he describes every day as “a pressure cooker” he wouldn’t trade it for the risk of another corporate layoff. “Customers often don’t order print before they absolutely must and then the pressure is there to do it immediately. As a professional, if you cannot adjust to that demand and make things work for people, you are in the wrong business. Meanwhile, the best way to alleviate that pressure is straightforward communication, so it is a matter of wanting it to work. To relieve the tight deadlines on all, Mike is sure to have his staff ask questions to find the ‘real’ deadlines, “so we can give ourselves better timelines to produce a quality job and gain the customers trust as best as we can.”

Today, Mike is proud to say he knows most of his customers. Even as his venture grows and people connect his talent for making them look good with the brand that is famous for promoting them, Mike makes sure to keep that contact. “It is more difficult now that we are getting bigger, but I still spend as much time as I can with the people who trust us and I still personally deliver finished work whenever possible, knowing it will only bring in more.”

Minuteman Press franchise owners like Mike Vieira say We Are The Modern Printing Industry™ with confidence because as he says, “If we wanted to just be printers, we would be out of business. We support them with promotional products, apparel, signage and of course, design. They come to us for all of it. People are always surprised by the amazing things we can do and we are ready with consultations and just the right samples to help them make the best choices.”

He continues, “If they come in for postcards and they have a tradeshow upcoming, we help them discover how much more they can do to make an impression. Then, they realize we can do it all and it makes it easier for them and allows all of us to grow.”

The most satisfying part of owning a Minuteman Press centre is “having many repeat customers who come to pick up their jobs and are happy to pay for them,” according to Mike. “People do not want to worry about print because they have their own jobs to do so we know to make them look good so they stay with us.”

As the catalog printing trade mellowed and people began to migrate to online shopping, it may have nudged Mike towards a new career as his own boss in an evolving printing industry but it by no means meant print was dead either. “I was working on a press ten years ago and was happy to do it, thinking I’d do it until retirement but the course of the future took me here, a franchise owner. People read on iPads and order online so books and magazines have been impacted, but what has continued to grow is the desire for printed marketing materials. That will always be necessary because overall, print is still the best way to make an impact from direct mail to promotional items. Print makes sense to people and they want it.”

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