Jeff Wereley and Karen McArthur own the Minuteman Press digital printing, design, and marketing franchise in Guelph, Ontario, which has remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic since print is an essential business. The print service provider (PSP) has worked hard on behalf of its business community and its expertise continues to make a powerful impact.
Wereley explains, “We are lucky in the sense that we have more outlets in our business that allowed us to remain open than many. In fact, we have a large-format printer that enables us (to) produce things like signage and we also have been growing our custom branded apparel offerings even prior to the pandemic. Between customized clothing and other products, print gives us the special ability to help us keep working during lockdowns and restrictions while faithfully serving our clients and community.”
The COVID-19 pandemic can be intimidating for small local businesses, but Minuteman Press in Guelph has shown that it is not insurmountable.
Wereley adds, “We were on track for a great year in sales with March numbers well ahead of last year. We accepted there were going to be some limitations because of COVID-19 but we talked as a team and carried on. We discovered our printing business fit the criteria for being an essential business. With that, the grinding halt that happened one Friday turned around and we could remain open. We were necessary to help other facilities with customized labels and hand sanitizer to start.”
As the months went on, things started picking up and the PSP was back at full-time production at the beginning of June. “We have such a wide range of industries within our client base. We also do screen printing of apparel and that has been great. It picked up in demand and everything else that was in the pipeline before the shutdown started to come back,” Wereley explains. “Landscapers were ordering face masks and newly branded T-shirts for their crews. We had lots of envelope and booklet orders and were busy printing labels and social distancing printing for other businesses as they opened up again.”
“Sooner than one might expect,” Wereley adds, “everyone was coming in for what they normally needed.”
There was a period of time in the beginning when Minuteman Press adapted and rerouted their communications more to the digital side, but no time was lost in fulfilling orders. “Primarily, we used email and phone, and we also created new space on social media, including Facebook and Instagram. We posted photos of our customized face masks and labels and interacted with everyone so they knew we were here for them,” says Wereley. “I did more email blasts in those first two months of quarantine than ever, and it was the right thing to do at the time.”
Wereley and McArthur are grateful to make a living in the printing industry, one that turned out to have endurance through the challenges of the pandemic. “Printing turns out to be what everyone needs so we are lucky for a lot of reasons,” says Wereley. “At this time, we are being diligent and have every reason to be hopeful, and so do our clients.”