The Grand Ole Opry House, owned by Ryman Hospitality Partners, is one of the most legendary music venues in the U.S. Thanks to Minuteman Press franchise owner John Taylor and his team at Minuteman Press in Nashville, the face of the Grand Ole Opry House now looks as good on the outside as the music sounds on the inside.
What started out as a sales call and business card order ten years ago has evolved into a trusted branding partnership between Minuteman Press in Nashville and Ryman Hospitality, and the result of that partnership includes incredible projects like this one – the full-wrap exterior rebranding of the Grand Ole Opry House.
John Taylor has owned the business since January 2014 and is a member of the President’s Club for top performers across the Minuteman Press franchise system. He shares key details on working to complete this huge project on such an iconic venue.
How did the project with the Grand Ole Opry come about?
JT: We acquired them as a client about ten years ago. It originated with a sales call at the original The Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. The first order was a few sets of business cards. Their parent company is Ryman Hospitality. Working inward through the marketing department at Ryman Hospitality, a relationship developed. They have a lot of printers, but we stayed in touch, cross-selling where possible.
Ultimately, we set them up on an online portal ordering system for their printed collateral and admin items for their various brands. We make it a habit to deliver all prospects our “Portfolio Thumb-drive”. It is branded Minuteman Press and goes to them pre-loaded with our most impressive projects in categorized folders. That led to us becoming one of their trusted branding partners; I would like to say their preferred branding partner. We’ve done projects from Nashville to New York City for them as they open new venues.
What specifically did you do for this project?
JT: We have done multiple projects at the Grand Ole Opry House. Regarding this project: It is an extraordinary surface in that it is stamped concrete. It is made to look like a ‘rough-cut cedar’ wooden surface, with deep woodgrain and over a half-inch depth difference between the faux planks.
There are two installation processes in this type of project. One is to install and register the panels together (58″ wide panels). The second process is to heat and press the vinyl into the grain and contours with a heat gun/torch and foam hand roller, roughly 4″ at a time.
- We measured, scaled, and templated the whole project.
- We printed the vinyl on an HP 360 Latex printer, then laminated the vinyl on a GBC roll laminator (3M IJ-480 Vinyl with 3M 8520 Matte Overlaminate).
- We used our 55′ boom truck, and a rented 45′ boom lift to install.
- The first team and truck would hang and register the vinyl.
- The second lift would have a heat gun, a torch, and roller to get into the grain and a single installer with very tired arms.
- We blocked off an area to work every morning so tours could still safely operate every 30-60 minutes.
- We installed in close coordination with the security team every day and evening to avoid periodic live shows in the evenings altogether.
What was the timetable/what did it take to complete the project?
JT: The exterior, as all large branding projects do, began with an intense set of measurements and a write-up of all inclusions and challenges with the surface(s). We then created an Illustrator template for their art department, advising best practices and highlighting any areas to which they should pay special attention during design.
The timetable was roughly seven weeks, synopsized below:
- We surveyed the first week and provided them a template for artwork technicals and construction.
- It took them 2-3 weeks to develop art, get the individual artists’ approvals, and the necessary internal management approvals. We removed the old banners and aluminum hardware, as well as prepped/cleaned the building during that period.
- I asked for 7-10 days to produce the vinyl. It took about a week to print, laminate and cut.
- We should have been able to install it in roughly one week with a crew of three. It ended up taking two weeks since the Grand Ole Opry has shows every couple of days, which limited our time (we had to be packed up and out of the way by 3 p.m.). The weather was also a factor.
How happy are you with the completed project? What feedback have you received?
JT: I’m extremely happy with it. I really am humbled and honored to be given the opportunity. Now, for the less-than-humble perspective: it was an intense scope of work… and we got the job done! We’ve had only positive feedback about this installation, and people are loving the new face of the Grand Ole Opry House. My favorite reaction was from a security guard that said, ‘I haven’t seen this many people stop and have their pictures taken in front of the building in years and years!’ He’s been there over 15 years, so that was so gratifying to hear him say that.
Taylor concludes, “To have our hard work appreciated, especially on such a large-scale project, it’s just a great feeling of accomplishment.”