Archive for July, 2013

July 23rd, 2013

Dave Buzza Named Chief Development Officer

AGI is proud to announce that Dave Buzza has been named the Chief Development Officer of AlphaGraphics. In Dave’s new role as CDO, effective as of July 1, he will be responsible for overseeing the comprehensive and overall strategic growth of the brand. The role includes leading the key departments of Marketing, Acquisitions, On-Boarding, and Franchise Development, as well as being charged with keeping an eye towards developing future opportunities and driving growth through new channels for both our Franchisees and the AG brand.

Dave has been with AlphaGraphics for six years. Previous to his positions at AG, Dave was an owner of a top-20 worldwide Kwik Kopy Printing franchise in Nashville, Tenn. Prior to his 19 years in the graphic arts industry, Dave was the V.P. of Sales for Mitre soccer company and Hush Puppies footwear.

As AG’s Vice President of Global Development, Dave has led the franchise development team to a record year. Congratulations, Dave, for the well-deserved promotion!

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July 18th, 2013

Latest AG Franchisees Taking Team Approach to New Businesses

AlphaGraphics owners often cite a more reasonable work schedule and an opportunity to spend more time with family as key benefits. Two new AG franchise owners are taking it to another level, with husbands and wives working together to grow their businesses.

Steve and Cinda Morse in the Cincinnati area recently purchased an existing AlphaGraphics location. Steve left his position as director of marketing at Procter & Gamble, having traveled around the world for 20 years. Most recently, he oversaw the baby care division in China. Cinda, who holds a degree in accounting from Purdue University, worked as a registered nurse before staying home to raise their children. Steve also attended Purdue, earning a degree in electrical engineering, and the University of Chicago, where he was awarded an MBA.

Cinda says their new AlphaGraphics center’s staff brings about 60 years of experience—from the production manager and press operator to the graphic designer and appointment setter, these professionals have made it easy for the Morses to assume leadership of a strong operation.

“We were looking for an opportunity to be own our own company and came across AlphaGraphics. We knew having support would be important to our success, and AG’s corporate acquisitions team and Launch Partners have been fantastic,” Cinda says. “We’ve been thoroughly impressed with the people, which has really reaffirmed that we are on the right path.”

John and Anne Main have purchased two territories in the Atlanta area and are also looking at acquisition opportunities, including independent print shops that could be good conversion candidates. John’s career has been in information technology, starting as a software developer at NASA, moving through the management ranks with telecom giants like Nortel, BellSouth and Cingular Wireless, and most recently, running customer support organizations including call centers that supported 6,000 locations for one of the nation’s largest auto parts retailers.

John holds a degree in computer engineering from Auburn University; Anne graduated from Vanderbilt University and went on to get her masters in accounting from Belmont University. Both were attracted to the chance to work together, the stability of set business hours and less travel, and the flexibility to run their own business.

“We looked at several different opportunities with other franchises and businesses for sale, but we really liked the flexibility that AlphaGraphics offered. Some franchisors are very rigid, but with AG, we’re well positioned to react to opportunities particular to our market,” John says. “Everyone we talked to was open and honest. You can tell when it’s scripted, but these were real discussions about the issues we’ll likely face and the decisions that will have to be made. The other owners and the corporate staff have been so helpful… these people aren’t just playing the corporate game, and we appreciate that.”

It goes back to the culture of the company, John says.

“It’s really a step above any organization I’ve ever been a part of.”

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July 15th, 2013

Future Looks Bright for Franchise Financing

Michael Brown is AlphaGraphics’ development director for acquisitions, real estate and financing – the guy who helps get the deal done for franchisees. As such, he has unique perspective on the current economic client for entrepreneurs. And he sees good signs on the horizon.

“It used to be that you could just about walk into any bank with a decent FICO score and a reasonable net worth and get whatever you wanted without a problem,” Brown says. “The Recession changed all that. Today, there are no guarantees, but it appears that we are headed into a period where it will be easier to secure financing than it has been in recent years.”

Brown says AlphaGraphics’ failure rate is very low, something that brings credibility to the table. It’s his job to go out and sell the AG story to prospective lenders.

“Our franchisee success rate is very high, which says a lot about AlphaGraphics as a company and the level of support that we provide,” he says. “Whereas we used to work primarily with three or four lenders, now we’re working with a dozen or more. We’ve expanded the pool to provide more opportunities to our owners.”

Part of Brown’s role is to find innovative financing, non-conventional means by which to put together deals that make dreams come true. For instance, some franchisees are leaving the corporate world and rolling 401(k) funds into self-directed IRAs, or C-corps that can use those funds now to finance a business without paying early-withdrawal taxes or penalties. Companies like Benetrans and Guidant Financial are helping with the transactions, and it’s an option that more than 50 percent of AG’s new franchisees are taking advantage of.

“A lot of new franchisees don’t know how much money they need or how to fund it – whether they are going to open a new center, purchase an existing one or even convert an independent print shop – and that’s where we can help,” he says. “It’s important to start these conversations early, and we can help guide you through the process.”

Brown says interest rates are starting to increase but are still at a very competitive 6% to 9%, versus the 3% to 5% at the historic lows.

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July 11th, 2013

AlphaGraphics Claims 14 of Quick Printing Magazine’s Top 100

From The slow recovery reported in the last two Top 100 surveys exploded into a fountainhead of growth and improvement in 2012. And not a moment too soon! With total annual sales of $530,914,231, this year’s Top 100 grew by an impressive 10.15 percent.

AlphaGraphicis is proud to claim 14 of the Top 100, more than any other organization in our industry. Congratulations to AG Owner Chuck Stempler in Seattle, who was ranked third on the list with $13 million in sales across six centers, and almost 20% growth.

Others who made the list include: Sparaco & Osborne, Tempe; Clare and Bill Meehan, Pittsburgh; Sally Hewell, Carrollton, Texas; Steve Adams, Mesa, Ariz.; Grant Richey, Bountiful, Utah; E&R Rothschild, Arvada, Colo.; Michael & Jeff Burgard, Bozeman, Mt.; Carol & Edward LeClair, Cary, N.C.; Richard Moran, Chicago; Larry Furlong, Phoenix; Rob Johnson, Salt Lake City; Paul Van Veldhuizen, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Tom & Lisa Slade, Evansville, Ind.

To see the rest of the list, click here.

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