New business owner Tom Conner grows long-established Minuteman Press printing franchise

December 13, 2019
Meet the Team of the Minuteman Press franchise, Wall Township, NJ – left to right: L to R: Nancy Phillips, Graphic Designer; Rebecca Beebe, Graphic Designer/Customer Service; and Tom Conner, Owner Meet the Team of the Minuteman Press franchise, Wall Township, NJ – left to right: L to R: Nancy Phillips, Graphic Designer; Rebecca Beebe, Graphic Designer/Customer Service; and Tom Conner, Owner

Under the leadership of business owner Tom Conner, the Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise located at 1818 State Highway 35 in Wall Township, New Jersey has experienced a renaissance. Tom has taken the established 30-year franchise to another level by expanding products and services, providing personalized service to retain and acquire new clients, and marketing his business.

Tom says, “I have grown my business at this point predominately by communicating regularly with our current customers, increasing our internet presence, expanding and offering better quality products and services, and networking. With the growth of my business so far, my plan is to increase the staff and spend more time developing business contacts and having a more consistent marketing plan, as well as having an enhanced press.”

He further explains, “Our location has existed for approximately 30 years. I purchased the business in June 2018.  Previously, the store offered basic printing as well as promotional products and wasn’t taking full advantage of the product and service lines that Minuteman Press offers. Since I have acquired the store, my goal has been to accommodate all of our client’s needs.  I want to be able to be a one-stop shop where they are able to get their printing, promotional products, apparel and direct mail needs met in one place, in a timely fashion and for a great price.  Since I have purchased the store, I have added a new cutter, a fantastic cutting and finishing machine, coil binding, a UV coating machine, large format printing and dye sublimation.  We will shortly be adding a new press with even more finishing capabilities.  Everyone that comes to our store knows that we care about their products and what their needs are. Our center’s sales are up on average 35-40% from 2018, so I think we are offering what the consumer wants.  Because of my past career, I consider everyone a client… not just a customer.  We look out for their needs.”

Prior to franchising with Minuteman Press, Tom spent time in the restaurant, retail, and real estate industries. He says, “The first 6 years of my career was in the restaurant business, and my degree was Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management from Penn State. I was briefly in retail management before settling into a 25-year career in real estate.  In that field, I did everything from selling new homes for builders to Vice President of Sales and Marketing for two large builders, before transitioning to the general brokerage side of the business.  I not only sold properties, but owned a property management company, and also served as Executive Vice President of a real estate firm. For 13 years, I also served as a Lieutenant in our local fire department as well as an EMT.”

When the time came to relocate to New Jersey to get married, Tom decided it was the right time to buy a business. “I looked at a number of businesses that I felt that I could run well.  I stumbled across Minuteman Press, and as I looked at it more and more, I realized it was a great fit. I felt that I was going to get a great deal of support from the franchisor, I felt that I had a fair amount of knowledge of basic printing from my career in Real Estate, and I liked having a business that had normal business hours, something I had never really had before in my life.”

One and a half years into running his own business, Tom is happy with his sales results as well as the rewards he feels as a business owner. He says, “Frankly, it’s a combination of helping my clients achieve their goals, whatever they may be, while still allowing me to have control over my life for the first time in my life.”

He credits Minuteman Press International for supporting him throughout this journey, saying, “Minuteman Press has been instrumental in helping me grow my business with the support they have offered. They have given me advice, helped me with acquiring my equipment, helped me hire and train my staff. My friends that own other franchises are shocked when I tell them everything that I get from Minuteman Press. Whenever I need my field representative to visit my store, he is there to help me with whatever I need.”

Jim Galasso is Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for NJ/NY/CT. He says, “Tom has done an excellent job in building his business since he took over this long-established location in Wall Township. It is rewarding for me to see Tom increase his sales by following the Minuteman Press franchise system and doing right by his clients.”

Because the printing industry is so versatile, Minuteman Press in Wall has a wide range of clients with unique needs that Tom and his team are able to meet. Tom explains. “We work with a wide array of industries from restaurants to doctors, medical centers and professional services. When I first bought the center, a gentleman walked in from a distributor, and we have formed a fantastic partnership with them to augment their own in-house print capabilities! We have formed great relationships with a number of other new clients as well, such as Affordable Housing Alliance, as well as growing the business of many of the existing clients.”

Giving back to the community is important to Tom and his team. Tom shares, “I think that it is imperative to be involved in the community. We are participating in the Marine Corps Toys For Tots campaign for the second year in a row, and we helped do a food drive for Fulfill, our local food bank. As I am able to add more staff, my goal is to have some sort of community campaign running much more often. I am also a member of the Jersey Shore Chamber of Commerce, a BNI networking group, the Shore Business Networking Group and I encourage my staff to also join networking groups.”

With 1.5 years under his belt and sales growth to be proud of, Tom has the following words of advice for others who are looking into owning a business: “The best advice I can offer anyone going into business is to ensure you have what you need to do the business, do what you do well, keep your customers happy and coming back, and make sure you are marketing. Don’t take shortcuts. Everything else will fall into place if you do those things well. Be sure to keep your fingers on the pulse of your customers and meet their needs. Don’t give them a reason to go somewhere else.”

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