Fairfield, Connecticut Minuteman Press is a locally owned design, marketing, and printing franchise that has remained open as an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners Cheryl Camarato and Susan Wybiral have worked for nearly 10 years as business owners to get where they are today, and they weren’t going to let anything get in the way of that.
Camarato says the beginning of the pandemic was a scary time, but she and Wybiral made fast moves to ensure they could remain open and serve their clients.
“Challenging times are opportunities for us to utilize our full range of technology. We help our clients by leveraging our products and services as well as the combined years of experience Susan and I have rerouting businesses into success stories, even against the odds.”
During a time of making tough decisions, Camarato reduced spending immediately and used her business intelligence to bolster her bottom line. She called and visited her customers to check on their welfare and help them strategize the unknown.
“We remained open and busy, so we did a great deal of work for the town, including the parks department, which needed health and safety signage without delay. Then, we were sensitive to local families hoping to celebrate graduations. So, we designed printed options like lawn signs and put them online, including Etsy as a way to create a special tradition and help our area preserve this rite of passage.”
The designs were met with $15,000 worth of sign orders and happy families.
“It was a strong sales month for us in the middle of lockdowns. We remained positive, and somehow, we pulled it off,” says Camarato. “We took care of signage for between six and eight grammar schools, the same number of middle schools plus public works and the board of education. People really needed help preserving monumental moments, and businesses needed help adjusting to unusual hours. Signage was in high demand, and our business never slowed down.”
Camarato is humble about her role as a mentor, but her reputation of being there for clients grows—even in emergency situations. Wybiral serves as the print center’s production master and keeps up on the latest technology, while Camarato says she’s on the money side of the business, which means making decisions to expand the center’s offerings. Over the years, the pair have made equipment decisions and brought services in-house that have helped them better serve clients.
Four years ago, they took an A-frame sign and cut it into the shape of a T-shirt, advertising customized apparel. Camarato says within an hour, people came in requesting custom T-shirt orders.
During COVID-19, these types of efforts paid off, and today, although there are still uncertainties, Camarato continues to keep her finger on the pulse and make swift adjustments as necessary.
“We move and groove and go on to the next thing while a lot of other printers just print basics,” Camarato explains. “We move quickly, and when people were working from home and under stress, we used our status as an essential business to create a bridge between their restricted activity and the message they need to keep in front of target audiences.”
Her commitment is strong, and her approach to sales is dedicated. Still, Camarato’s devotion to the success of every project entrusted to her staff in Fairfield is personal.
“We are busier than ever, and that is becoming true for those we serve. Everything is coming back, and people are enthusiastic to move forward and grow,” she says.