Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

March 5th, 2014

Financial Exec Becomes Latest AG Franchise Partner

Jac Bloomberg was a pioneer in digital printing, starting more than 40 years ago in bringing on-demand laser technology to consumers before gravitating to the marketing side of the industry.

“Our focus was on utilizing the technology to achieve specific business objectives,” Bloomberg says. “That was the early days of personalized direct mail, including things like automated statement processing.”

Living in suburban New Jersey and working in New York City, he found a niche in the financial services industry, directing major printing processes as an internal sales and production executive for companies like Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney (CitiGroup) and Morgan Stanley. For the latter, he recently built a website that allowed 18,000 financial advisors in the field to order personalized materials and generic marketing collateral on demand – think notecards, invitations, brochures and more.

When Morgan Stanley acquired Smith Barney, he took all of the marketing collateral that was sitting in a warehouse and converted it into electronic files that were ready for digital customization and on-demand production. In the process, he salvaged seven million pieces of material and saved the company more than $6 million annually in print spend!

That was when he realized that the time was right to start thinking about working for himself.

“Honestly, after all those years, I had grown a little tired of corporate America, and I was ready to do something on my own,” he says. “I love cars, so I’d even thought about opening a nice car wash. But when I found AlphaGraphics, I knew it was worth pursuing.”

With such a long history in the industry, Bloomberg remembers when the “print shop” concept came to market, where storefronts made copies for individuals and businesses and competed on price.

“A commodity-based business was the last thing I wanted to do. AlphaGraphics is leading the evolution of the industry, and it’s an opportunity to work as a consultant to small and medium-sized businesses,” he says. “That’s where my expertise lies, and I think the potential is in building and expanding those relationships. That’s what’s fun for me.”

Bloomberg recently purchased an existing AlphaGraphics location in Red Bank, N.J., with a solid revenue stream and a strong book of business.

“I’m a sales guy who provides value to long-standing customers, and those partnerships and the comprehensive marketing services offering are where I see growth for the future,” he says. “AlphaGraphics provides excellent support – it’s up to me to utilize the resources available to make my business successful.”

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October 18th, 2013

A Customer Service Case Study: Boston Logan International Airport

It all started with an inbound call about some rack cards. The client was Westfield, the retail operator for Boston’s Logan International Airport.

Screenshot 2013-10-18 12.48.32Carmine and Victoria Camerato, owners of AlphaGraphics Boston, are big believers in the power of search engine marketing, and this particular call came from an SEM campaign.

“Victoria was very helpful, she did a great job on the rack cards and then we followed up to explain our other capabilities,” Carmine said. “That started a relationship with Westfield’s marketing department that has grown into a significant account that includes several high-profile, large-format components within the airport.”

First came the vinyl panels that cover construction barricades, attaching attractive messaging to otherwise unsightly plywood walls. Just this month, the Cameratos have completed two 56-foot-long signs adjacent to a moving walkways.

Now, they’ve been asked to produce four-sided cubes with removable adhesive panels that are situated on top of the baggage carousels.

“We designed these based on their desire to reach repeat travelers for the holiday season, to encourage people to shop in what amounts to a small mall within the airport,” Carmine said. “We’ve developed a series of signs that direct people to the retail shops, and we can swap them out throughout the campaign.”

On the other end of the spectrum, the Cameratos’ AG center produced scratch-off cards for retail promotions within the airport, offering discounts on things like coffee and meals. Even through three different marketing directors, the scope of the client relationship has continued to grow.

“In 18 months, Westfield has become a Top 10 customer of ours; they’ve nearly quadrupled their stated budget from when we started last year,” Victoria said. “We’ve recently started doing some graphic design for them through the AlphaGraphics corporate office’s AG Media Marketplace. It’s really been an incredible relationship.”

Carmine explains that Westfield had struggled in the past with ad agencies who busted budgets and didn’t seem to appreciate the business. The reaction to that initial call to the Cameratos’ AlphaGraphics business center set the tone from the beginning.

“It’s an amazing thing. Just picking up the phone and being nice, accommodating the client’s initial request and then building on that by demonstrating additional capabilities,” he said. “You never know what it will lead to.”

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August 27th, 2013

LIVE From Nashville: AG Annual Conference Celebrates Unprecedented Growth

AlphaGraphics franchise owners from all over the country converged on Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this month for the company’s annual conference. Owners and corporate staff look forward to the conference every year – not only for the strategy sessions and professional development opportunities, but for the camaraderie.

This year was particularly exciting, as AlphaGraphics President Art Coley announced that AG had signed an unprecedented 41 franchise agreements in 21 states in the fiscal year ending June 30. This unit growth is more than double our fiscal year 2012 signings, which we attribute to the successful implementation of the strategy to evolve from a printer to a trusted marketing communications partner serving small businesses.

“Our AlphaGraphics franchisees are reaping the rewards of providing small businesses not only printing services, but strategic marketing solutions,” Coley said. “This success is attracting entrepreneurs across the country to join AlphaGraphics and several of our existing franchisees to expand their territories. Both are signs of a healthy business opportunity.”

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January 18th, 2013

Three New Owners Join Our Global Network in November

AlphaGraphics added three new franchisees to its global network in November, the sixth consecutive month of record growth for the brand recently highlighted in the Franchise Times Top 200.

Curtis Gropman in Marietta, Ga. recently acquired an independent print shop and is in the process of converting it to an AlphaGraphics Business Center. He brings 15 years of senior sales experience with the Coca Cola system, most recently as vice president of category management for North America. Gropman holds a degree in merchandise management from Michigan State University.Headquartered in Salt Lake City, AlphaGraphics, Inc. plans, produces and manages visual communications for businesses at nearly 300 owner-operated, locally based business centers worldwide.

Chris Iacuzzo recently acquired an independent print shop and is in the process of converting it to an AlphaGraphics Business Center in Orlando, Fla. He was previously a senior staff engineer at NDI Recognition Systems, having held senior positions with Northrop Grumman and other prominent corporations in the defense and space industry. He is currently completing a master’s in engineering management from the Florida Institute of Technology and holds a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of Florida.

Ken and Barbara Adams of Colleyville, Texas have signed a franchise agreement, and are exploring AlphaGraphics options in the Dallas area and in other states. Ken spent 18 years with Pepsico, serving most recently as national account sales manager. He has also owned two small start-up businesses. Barbara is retired from American Airlines, where she held a position in administration.

“My decision to leave the corporate world and become a small business owner is driven by my need to create a ‘win-win’ scenario, and to utilize skills that I have developed over the last 24 years,” Mr. Adams said. “With AlphaGraphics, I believe I can fully develop my passion and apply my knowledge and skills to a business that will provide me with the financial freedom I work so hard to achieve.”

The AlphaGraphics network, a 41 year-old brand, continues to be at the forefront of the printing franchise industry. Backed by state-of-the-art technology, the world’s highest quality standards and a global network, the company’s trained and experienced team members are committed to delivering creative solutions that enable customers to grow their businesses and increase their reach. For more, visit www.alphagraphics.com or www.alphagraphicsfranchise.com.

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November 14th, 2012

17 AG Centers Rank in 2012 Quick Printing Magazine’s Top 100 List

Last year, 15 AlphaGraphics centers made Quick Printing magazine’s Top 100 list – more than any other brand in the industry. The 2012 rankings are out, and AG once again leads the pack - this time with 17 centers!

This prestigious list acknowledges the Top 100 quick and small commercial printers in North America from the previous year, and being a part of it presents a uniquely valuable marketing opportunity.

Chuck Stempler, owner of AlphaGraphics Seattle, received the highest AG ranking on the list at #6, up from #12 last year.

“Recognition of our achievements is for our 66 employees collectively,” Stempler said. “None of our success could have been achieved without all of their outstanding efforts.”

“In a competitive environment, we continue to find ways to grow the business and remain profitable while doing it,” say Mike Sparaco and Darin Osborne, owners of AlphaGraphics on University in Tempe, AZ. Like Chuck, Mike and Darin increased their ranking from last year’s list, jumping from #32 in 2011 to #23 in 2012.  

Other AG center owners who nabbed a spot on the list included Bill and Clare Meehan (US514, #42), Jim and Sally Hewell/ Mike and Martie Cowan (US376, #44), Ed Rothschild (US612, #51), Mike Burgard (US690, #57), Grant Richey (US088, #60), Rudy Baron (US242, #62), Karen Brinker (US162, #63), Larry Furlong (US011, #64), Rob Johnson (US034, #69), Steve Adams (US291, #73), Dick Moran (US525, #82), Carol and Ed LeClair (US398, #94), David Kovacs (US281, #95), Tom and Lisa Slade (US370, #97), and Paul VanVeldhuizen (US451, #99).

Congratulations, all!

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November 13th, 2012

Three New Owners Join AlphaGraphics Global Network in October

More Franchise Growth for Leader in Print and Marketing Communications Services

Three new franchisees joined the AlphaGraphics network in October, marking another strong month of unit growth for the brand. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, AlphaGraphics, Inc. plans, produces and manages visual communications for businesses at nearly 300 owner-operated, locally based business centers worldwide.

Jeff and Deborah Smith in Missouri have signed a franchise agreement with AlphaGraphics and are currently exploring business location opportunities. Jeff brings an entire career in sales, sales management and marketing to AlphaGraphics, most recently with Coast Brands as vice president of sales for the mid-west region. Deborah works as a recruiter and trainer for the American Greeting Card Company in St. Louis. He holds an associate of arts degree in law from the University of Missouri.

 

Scott Wethers in California has more than a decade of experience in sales for print, mail and promotional products, including stints in management for companies like Workflowone and SmartSource. He holds a degree in business administration in marketing from Oregon State University, as well as an MBA in marketing, finance and eBusiness from the University of Washington. Wethers plans to open a state-of-the-art AlphaGraphics Digital Business Center in Southern California in the coming months.

 

Mark Lee in Texas recently took early retirement from his role as director of customer management at Frito-Lay, Inc., having spent his career with that company and, previously, with General Electric. He plans to employ his sales, marketing and customer engagement talents to an AlphaGraphics franchise opportunity. Lee graduated from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a master’s in advertising and marketing.

“While a number of brands in the print industry have struggled through the Recession, AlphaGraphics continues to grow because of our vision for the future and the way in which we’ve embraced the rapidly evolving marketing and communications business,” said Dave Buzza, vice president of global development for AlphaGraphics.

“With our focus on serving as an outsource marketing provider, we’ve been able to expand our offering and provide greater value to our customers. New owners like these three recognize the unlimited potential, and we’re proud to have them on the AlphaGraphics team.”

The AlphaGraphics network, a 41 year-old brand, continues to be at the forefront of the printing franchise industry and was recently ranked in the Top 200 Franchises by Franchise Times. Backed by state-of-the-art technology, the world’s highest quality standards and a global network, the company’s trained and experienced team members are committed to delivering creative solutions that enable customers to grow their businesses and increase their reach. For more, visit www.alphagraphics.com or www.alphagraphicsfranchise.com.

 

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November 13th, 2012

Local AlphaGraphics Creates Mobile Site for Ryder Cup Host Towns

The Ryder Cup Challenge golf tournament in September at the Medinah Country Club in northern Illinois brought in more than 45,000 visitors, and Wood Dale AlphaGraphics owner Jeff Bittner was tapped to help take advantage of the opportunity.

Bittner and his staff created a concierge map and mobile website, incorporating a QR code that allowed tourists to find nearby businesses with the goal of keeping them in the immediate area.

“We were approached by the business development director from Wood Dale about building a map to hand out at each of the hotels,” Bittner said. “A combined 2,700 hotel rooms were sold for the week in the six host communities, and I suggested adding a QR code to the map that would link to a mobile website showing directions to local businesses. We put together a proposal and a demo showing how it could work, and they jumped at the opportunity.”

With a print distribution of 5,000 maps, the site had 2,000 hits during the tournament, and generated local media coverage and more opportunities for Bittner’s AlphaGraphics center.

“I have three appointments with restaurants that want to discuss a site for their own businesses,” he said. “And three of the six communities are interested in keeping versions of the site live for local residents.”

Visit our website to learn more about the innovative ways that AlphaGraphics is helping our owners achieve their personal and professional goals. There’s never been a better time, and we’d love to help you write the next chapter of your career.

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October 25th, 2012

AlphaGraphics Adds Four New Franchisees to Global Network

Leader in Printing, Outsourced Marketing Services Posts 8.9% Year-over-year Growth

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – September was a big month for the AlphaGraphics network, with four new owners closing on franchise agreements to open new AlphaGraphics Business Centers. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, AlphaGraphics, Inc. plans, produces and manages visual communications for businesses at nearly 300 owner-operated, locally based business centers worldwide.

Girish Sethi in Houston, Texas, previously owned a box manufacturing company in India that allowed him to gain familiarity with the printing industry. He holds both a bachelors and a post-graduate degree in computer applications, and was also president of All Around Art & Foliograph Galleries, with responsibility for manufacturing operations and 11 retail locations.

Gene and Yolanda Lucero, along with their business partner Trish Perez, are opening a new AlphaGraphics center in the Dallas area. Gene spent 24 years working for Xerox in sales, including six as a General Manager, and 11 in sales management with accounts such as the U.S. Army, Air Force and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Gene holds a degree in digital technology and engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. Trish also spent time in sales for Xerox and was most recently a federal account manager for managed print services with Cannon IV, Inc. She earned a degree in marketing from the University of Texas in Austin.

Arif Jacksi in Manhattan, N.Y. is converting his IMPRESSIONS print shop to an AlphaGraphics center. He brings 14 years of experience in design, web development, commercial printing and sign production, but was interested in the marketing services and network support that a strong franchise brand could offer to his business.

Dan Hayes owns Doops Copy in Olympia, Wash., a 21-year-old independent printing business that is now being converted to an AlphaGraphics Business Center. Dan’s B2B model has served the construction industry, working with designers and project managers to reproduce commercial building documents and host them online.

“These new owners represent the ideal AlphaGraphics franchisee, bringing industry experience, entrepreneurial success and a lot of talent to our network,” said Dave Buzza, vice president of global development for AlphaGraphics. “With our focus on being a marketing and communications provider, we’ve been able to serve as an out-source marketing partner for our clients, and that has allowed us to grow consistently through the economic downturn.”

The AlphaGraphics network, a 41 year-old brand, continues to be at the forefront of the printing franchise industry and ranked in the Top 200 Franchises. Backed by state-of-the-art technology, the world’s highest quality standards and a global network, the company’s trained and experienced team members are committed to delivering creative solutions that enable customers to grow their businesses and increase their reach. For more, visit www.alphagraphics.com or www.alphagraphicsfranchise.com.

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June 28th, 2012

Escaping the Danger of the Comfort Zone – With Guardrails

By Al Lautenslager, AG Regional Franchise Development Director

When the controversial book Danger in the Comfort Zone was first released in the early ‘90s, those who were working nice corporate jobs and earning nice salaries and benefits took note. Soon after, terms like right-sizing, down-sizing and cap-sizing became the buzz. It forced people to look outside of that proverbial comfort zone, to see the writing on the wall and investigate the possibility of doing something different – in many cases, something completely different.

I was one of those looking to break out of the comfort zone, without taking the plunge with no safety net. I needed help – a fast startup, something almost turn-key in nature. Quickly, my thoughts turned to a franchise business.

I wasn’t alone then, and things haven’t changed much in today’s times. Corporate jobs are being eliminated. Burnout among executives is rampant. People are yearning to “do their own thing.”

Some of the phenomena mentioned above can be attributed to the pure entrepreneurial spirit. Corporate frameworks restrict entrepreneurial thoughts and actions; by breaking free, we free our entrepreneurial spirit. How can we embrace that spirit, while mitigating the risk? Often times, the answer is the protection of a franchise network – the assistance, structure and support we need to help ensure our success.

Some turn-key franchise businesses are like purchasing a job – a cookie cutter model, where an owner follows a set recipe. Others are wide open as far as creating, starting, and running a business, one that builds equity and yields a return on investment.

Dave Buzza, AlphaGraphics’ VP of Global Development, is quick to point out that the ownership of an AG franchise is like driving on a six-lane freeway. The owner – or the driver in this case – can drive any direction at any speed anywhere on that interstate. The franchise organization is the guardrails that prevent the driver from going into the ditch. If you keep your eyes on the road, you’re less likely to hit the guardrails.

Be careful of that comfort zone, find your highway, know that the guardrails are in place as you like them, and drive away. The danger – or lack of it – is more in your control.

If you’d like to explore the AlphaGraphics opportunity, please click here to visit our interactive online brochure.

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May 15th, 2012

Early Retirement Leads Sam Reed Jr. to AlphaGraphics Franchise

Sam Reed Jr. was a corporate executive, working for PepsiCo in sales and operations before taking an early retirement.

He’d always wanted to own his own business, so he contacted Bob Tierno with The Entrepreneur’s Source and started looking at franchise organizations. After completing the TES profile assessment, he identified AlphaGraphics as one that might be a good fit.

Sam Reed

“I decided I had a little left in my tank, so I started exploring franchise opportunities,” Sam says. “I developed 10 decision criteria, and AlphaGraphics met nine of them.”

Sam had some very specific goals in mind: a business-to-business opportunity near to his home in Dallas; the flexibility to sell his business, or pass it down to his children; a comfortable six-figure income down the road; and the scalability that could offer additional locations.

He purchased an existing AlphaGraphics business center in Dallas in January of this year, and his sales have increased month over month.

“In March, we exceeded January and February’s numbers combined,” Sam says. “I bought this business with the aspiration of doing $2 million in annual sales, and I believe we’ll get there.”

He says he noticed an “infectious culture” within AlphaGraphics almost immediately.

“I was hesitant to go spend three days in Salt Lake City for AG Discovery Day,” Sam says. “But it was a highly valuable experience. We were evaluating each other to ensure that it would be a good fit, and I appreciated the chance to spend time with the CEO and company leadership, to understand the philosophy and where the organization was going.”

He says he was impressed by the competitive advantage of AG’s expansion into marketing services – “anyone who picks up a periodical knows that the printing industry is changing” – and that he could tell he was buying into a very supportive network of other AlphaGraphics owners.

“I talked to 25 or 30 other owners during the process, and we have a very active owners group here in Dallas,” Sam says. “This was a significant investment for me, and it wasn’t a decision that I could get wrong.”

And while he’s only a few months in, Sam is confident that he is well positioned to meet his personal and professional goals as an AlphaGraphics owner.

“I am really enjoying this business, and I’m learning something new every day,” he says. “Many of our customers don’t yet understand the full scope of our capabilities, and that represents an opportunity for huge growth potential.”

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