September 22nd, 2014
New Franchisee Brings Decades of Experience to Connecticut Center
Bob Talbot has a history with entrepreneurism – his family owned an auto repair business in Bridgeport, Conn., where he worked as a young man. After a brief stint with General Motors, he left the corporate world and became a real estate agent, where he sold a home to an Allstate Insurance executive. Soon, the buyer was making an offer to Bob.
Thirty-five years later, Bob and his wife, Paula, recently sold their Allstate franchise and bought an AlphaGraphics location in nearby Hamden, Conn.
“We had built a multi-million dollar business, but we found we were working harder and harder for less and less,” Talbot says. “The commission rates kept going down while the administrative costs were going up. It got to the point where it didn’t make sense anymore, so we started looking for a new franchise opportunity.”
The Talbots explored everything from foodservice to automotive before meeting business broker Ben Adamo by chance. Adamo had found success placing candidates with AlphaGraphics before, and he suggested the Talbots look into the option.
“It was like a gong went off,” Talbot says. “I had done some vocational training in high school with printing presses and had worked in a print shop over the summers. Our experience in the insurance industry with marketing and customer service was applicable, and there was an AG center for sale close by. As we looked into it, we became more and more impressed.”
Bob says he was deluged with requests to attend various Discovery Days, and it would take a lot to get him to fly 1,500 miles and spend the week hearing about a franchise opportunity. But AlphaGraphics stood out as a different kind of company.
“I started talking to other owners and understanding more about the offering, and we were blown away by the people, the processes… they were so welcoming and genuine and open,” he says. “The level of expertise they demonstrated was so impressive.”
Now the Talbots are three weeks in at their new AlphaGraphics Business Center, a four-year-old location with the right equipment, a solid book of business and a great staff. Paula is focusing on the bookkeeping and customer service aspects – the pair boasted an unheard-of 90%+ renewal rate in the insurance business – and Bob will handle everything from equipment operation to outside sales.
It’s a learning experience, he says, but he’s immersed in training and soaking it all up.
“This is a new industry for us, but many of these things have been a large part of our business for the last decade, from web development to variable data direct mail. It’s marketing, business-to-business, and driving the highway is the same as it was in 1929. The cars are just more modern! The fundamentals are the same, but the vehicles are faster, smarter and higher quality. We’re excited for this new chapter.
“This is a relationship business, and we’re focused on their interests, on helping our customers improve and grow. Just as AlphaGraphics is invested in our success, so are we in ensuring that our clients are succeeding in their businesses.”