For decades, Rich Schepler has been working to grow his employer’s business. With the Rich’s help, Rochester, N.Y.-based Flower City Printing has grown over the last 30 years from a local shop to a national powerhouse in commercial printing, with 300+ employees and $70 million in sales.
But the urge to do something entrepreneurial was always there, and despite a minority ownership stake in the company, Rich and his wife, Jennifer, wanted to own their own business. The lure of children and grandchildren in North Carolina, plus a chance to acquire an AlphaGraphics Business Center, was too much to ignore.
“When we decided to make a move closer to family and out of the snow, I started researching opportunities in the Charlotte, North Carolina area and came across AlphaGraphics. We were looking to grow a small business, so it seemed like the perfect fit,” Rich says. “We had already signed to purchase one location with the intent to move it to a larger retail space when we found a second AlphaGraphics nearby. It made sense to combine the two locations into one business.”
The Scheplers retained the staffs of both locations, and have worked with the previous owners during the transition. They’re growing the sales and marketing teams, with a focus on expanding relationships with the existing customer base. They also have plans to increase capacity through two shifts, and to leverage SEM/SEO programs to secure qualified leads and convert them to sales.
They’ve spent time getting to know other Franchisees in the area, both while they were evaluating AlphaGraphics and since they took ownership.
“The support and training has been very helpful, and the mentorship program was great. Spending time with Franchisees in other Centers and having dedicated team members on-site as we got up and running has allowed us to get started successfully, and we’re excited to collaborate with them in the future.”
Rich has been in the printing business a long time, with a front-row seat to the evolution of the marketing communications industry. He says the future is bright if you are willing to change with technology and provide exceptional solutions to customer needs.
“Print will always have a place but you have to provide other avenues to attract printing. Customers want someone who is looking out for their best interests, someone they can trust,” he says. “When there is a sincere ‘care’ in place, that personal touch will leave a mark that the competition will have a hard time breaking.
“I did a lot of research into AlphaGraphics, and they’ve backed up everything that was either said or written. A lot of people asked if I was moving south to slow down and play golf, but that’s just not in my makeup. I am a firm believer in working hard, doing the right thing, and providing exceptional customer service and a quality product that meets or exceeds expectations. That’s what AlphaGraphics provides, and we’re enjoying the challenge of growing our business.”
For more stories of Franchisees like the Scheplers, take a minute to visit our website and YouTube channel. If you could see yourself as part of the AlphaGraphics Network, then let’s talk! Contact us here.