Minuteman Press franchise owner Avi Kumar sensed an early downward dip affecting clients in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and his pulse remained steady as he lined up new strategies to best serve his diverse range of clients.
Kumar says, “We realized business was slowing down and as we are very close to our clients, the last two weeks of March consisted of us joining them in their struggles, keeping our heads down and using our capabilities to help them rise up.”
Kumar also has the unwavering support of his wife, Reena, a nurse practitioner and frontline worker in town who comes in to help when she can, with processes like finishing.
Colorado was shutting doors to commerce, but with printing deemed an essential business, Kumar and his staff had room to get creative.
“As the lockdowns happened, we were never going to close as an essential business,” Kumar explains. “We figured out ways to keep generating sales for our customers and us. Instead, we kept our staff and pace as demand from our clients in medical facilities and restaurants increased with different signage and social distancing printing needs.”
April and May came in with very different budgets than his clients were used to, but it wasn’t a problem. Kumar accommodated everyone, and orders for sensitive, sales-saving printed items were coming out of his center, and with speed.
“We followed what people wanted to buy and looked ahead on their behalf for what they needed to survive. No matter what the price-point, we were there and jumped into producing signage for graduations. There were a ton of orders from individual parents and entire schools. We produced 2,500 yard signs in April and May alone.”
Kumar runs a team of three at Minuteman Press in Greeley, and they are part of a history of building a business that feels like family but with technology and the means to use it. “We developed low-cost, high-quality signage for our school graduations, but that is not the only reason why we got the job. The district contact person called us, remembering the work we did during election season last year. At the time, she found us through a networking group, and we fulfilled nearly 3,000 signs, and everyone loved them.”
The print service provider also printed for restaurants, helping them with curbside pickup and information signage.
Months passed with flyers, coupons, banners, posters, window graphics, and directional signage needed in all shapes, sizes, and customized without delay.
Before lockdowns lifted, Kumar and his team helped the real estate world, provided 15,000 masks to the local school district, and offered promotional products to businesses looking to bridge the networking gap at this time.
As he considers the range of ways his staff has come through in recent months, he adds, “It feels wonderful to know that our design and print services are going to help our clients, remembered for being strong in spite of the challenge. It’s great.”
Always thinking beyond his hurried clients, Kumar is investigating fun options for kids that help make school inviting. “We will be offering customized T-shirts with the option to have kids’ names along with their school logo. We can do small quantities in-house if that makes it easier.”
Kumar continues to visit and check in on his clients as his bottom line indicates promise. “We are blessed with another new team member, a young woman working with us now. Things are looking up. This month’s sales were strong, and we expect next month to be even stronger as the economy heads upward.”