Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

July 22nd, 2015

Growth Through Acquisition: How Mark Lee Doubled His Business

Mark Lee purchased an AlphaGraphics Business Center in Arlington, Texas in August of 2013, having retired from a successful career as Director of Sales and Customer Management with PepsiCo.

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The first year’s sales results were about $1.5 million. But acquisition was at the center of his growth strategy – Swifty Solutions was the market leader, with 25+ years of brand presence and sales of nearly $2 million annually.

AlphaGraphics Business Builder program had identified Swifty as a prospect for conversion in early 2014, but the owner wasn’t yet ready to sell. Thirteen months later, in February of 2015, Lee purchased Swifty Solutions and began the process of converting it to AlphaGraphics.

“The business wasn’t for sale when we first reached out, but the owner, Jerry Mechell, had been thinking about a transition plan. He’s passionate about the people – both his staff and his customers – and he wanted to make sure the company he’d built would continue to be successful,” Lee says. “The unique thing is that he had been watching AlphaGraphics from afar and had implemented a lot of our best practices into Swifty.”

With the new operation came a seasoned staff, an impressive book of business and complementary equipment and capabilities. Through the acquisition, Lee added 10 new employees (including a director of production with 24 years of service), more than 9,000 square feet of space and five offset printers. The new location is set to debut as AlphaGraphics in two months.

“A lot of the offset work that we had been subbing out can now be done in-house,” Lee says.“Swifty Solutions didn’t have in-house mailing, and we do. Now that we have additional space, we will be adding wide format.”

Lee worked with Mechell on a transition plan and met face to face with the top 50 customers, and together they were able to communicate the positive change. The transition plan included a letter campaign to all customers overviewing the transition and benefits. Now Lee’s AlphaGraphicsbusiness is primed to grow even more rapidly.

Looking back on his career, Lee says he’s thrilled with his decision to become an entrepreneur by joining the AlphaGraphics Network.

“I don’t miss corporate America at all. I tell anyone who will listen that everything I did in my career prepared me for what I’m doing now,” he says. “My degrees in advertising, background in sales and marketing, managing a sales force, being held accountable to growth goals – all of that is applicable to what I’m doing today. I’m just doing it for myself.”

If you’re working with candidates who are looking at opportunities to apply their experience and skill set to a business of their own, we’d love to talk with you about AlphaGraphics.

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June 23rd, 2015

Napa Area Finance VP Becomes Latest AlphaGraphics Franchisee

Having spent 20+ years in corporate America, Alejandro Escalante had traveled the world, earned an MBA and developed the experience, the skillset and the resources to do something new and different. The former vice president of financial planning and analysis for the Americas division of Napa-based Treasury Wine Estates – and finance director for the Clorox Company before that – simply wanted to do something for himself.

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“I just didn’t want to be an employee anymore,” Escalante says. “All of the work I’d done in brand building and business development and financial management was very rewarding, but I still wanted to do new things. Owning my own business was always in the back of my mind.

Escalante says the first step was identifying the right opportunity, and he engaged a business consultant and determined that owning a franchise would best leverage his interests.

“I was looking for something creative, B2B, helping businesses grow,” he says. “I met with at least 15 different companies and attended a ton of Discovery Days and continued to narrow the scope.When I found AlphaGraphics, I could see myself in that role. I knew it was the right decision.”

He felt an immediate connection to the AlphaGraphics culture and values – a strong Network of support, built on relationships, with a vision for the future.

Escalante found an AlphaGraphics owner in nearby Sunnyvale, Calif. who was ready to retire, and bought the business in May.

“I see a world of potential for growth over the next decade, maybe even doubling in size,” he says. “I’m pleased to be a part of AlphaGraphics and excited about the future.”

If you have a candidate who might be a good fit, let’s talk​! There’s no better way to explore theAlphaGraphics opportunity than at our Discovery Day, held each month at our headquarters in Salt Lake City.

We would be delighted to have you and your candidate as our guests – upcoming dates includeJuly 15-17, August 19-21, September 23-25, October 21-23, November 18-20 and December 16-18.

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June 16th, 2015

Competition is tough in the franchise industry. Hear how AlphaGraphics comes out on top in this video!

Common themes emerge among our Franchisees who were formerly corporate leaders: less travel, a six-figure income, tired of working for someone else and ready to apply their expertise and talent to their own business. Here are a few of them speaking about their experience and why they settled on AlphaGraphics.


AlphaGraphics is growing, and we’re selectively recruiting successful executives who are interested in owning their own businesses. As we talk to business brokers and coaches about the benefits associated with joining our network of over 250 independently owned AlphaGraphics Business Centers, some common questions have emerged.

In this short video, our Franchisees address these questions directly. Take a minute to listen to what they have to say about their experiences, and the results they’ve seen as members of theAlphaGraphics Network. It could be the perfect fit for one of your clients.

We invite you to visit our website, blog and Facebook page for more information, including more real-life examples from Franchisees, other business brokers, our leadership and staff, small business funding partners and others.

If you’d like to talk in more detail, please reply to this message or call us at (801) 595-7259. Thanks very much for your consideration.

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May 16th, 2015

Why AlphaGraphics?

They come from different backgrounds, but all were leaving the corporate world because they wanted to own a business. Hear from some of our longest-tenured Franchisees on why they choseAlphaGraphics, and what the results have been.

AlphaGraphics is growing, and we’re selectively recruiting successful executives who are interested in owning their own businesses. As we talk to business brokers and coaches about the benefits associated with joining our network of over 250 independently owned AlphaGraphics Business Centers, some common questions have emerged.

In this short video, our Franchisees address these questions directly. Take a minute to listen to what they have to say about their experiences, and the results they’ve seen as members of theAlphaGraphics Network.  It could be the perfect fit for one of your clients.

We invite you to visit our website and Facebook page for more information, including more real-life examples from Franchisees, other business brokers, our leadership and staff, small business funding partners and others.

If you’d like to talk in more detail, please reply to this message or call us at (801) 595-7259. Thanks very much for your consideration.

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April 15th, 2015

Next Generation Takes the Reins at Top Producing Utah Center

Rob Johnson opened his West Valley City, Utah AlphaGraphics Center in 1992, growing the business dramatically over the years and becoming a leader among franchise owners in the AG Network.

The Center’s success has continued, delivering eye-popping numbers in the first quarter: January 2015 sales were up 21.5% over last year, and February sales were up 45.4%. The Johnson family has plans for even further expansion, investing in new additions that will further enhance their production capabilities.

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But Rob is ready to pass the baton of the family business off to the next generation. Last month, Johnson officially transferred ownership of his franchise to his son, Brian.

In a brief presentation at the opening dinner of the annual Gold Circle reward trip for top franchise owners, AlphaGraphics President Aaron Grohs told Brian, “Your father has been a tremendous leader and visionary at AlphaGraphics, and he has had a tremendous impact on many people in this room. I know he is proud of you as you carry on the family legacy.”

Congratulations to the Johnsons on a quarter-century of success. We have a feeling the growth is just getting started!

Many of our most successful franchises are family businesses. If you have a client looking for an opportunity to grow something that could become their legacy, we’d love to talk with you. Pleaseclick here to start the conversation.

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February 5th, 2015

New AG President Named

The AlphaGraphics Board of Directors announced in a press release Monday that Aaron Grohs will be the new President of AlphaGraphics, effective February 15.

Aaron brings more than 15 years of executive print operations, sales, and marketing leadership to our company. His most recent experience included multiple roles overseeing the operational performance of eight Consolidated Graphics local operating companies while simultaneously serving as Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, for the entire CGX operation.

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“We are confident that Aaron is the right choice to lead AlphaGraphics Onward and Upward, building upon AlphaGraphics’ strong legacy in the print community,” said Gay Burke, Board Chair and Interim President. She will continue to serve as Executive Chair of the company and looks forward to working with Aaron.

“It is an honor to be joining the AlphaGraphics team on Feb 15,” said Aaron. “AlphaGraphics is a great company with a with an incredible franchise network. It is an exciting time to be in the print and marketing services industry. The innovative technology available today provides us with an opportunity to be a world-class print and marketing solutions provider to our customers. I couldn’t be more excited to work alongside the great people at AlphaGraphics and continue the success the company has experienced.”

The company is planning some regional tours for Aaron, and he looks forward to meeting the entire AlphaGraphics team at Conference 2015 in Washington, D.C.

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January 28th, 2015

Be our guest at our upcoming Discovery Day…

On February 11th -13th we will host a Discovery Day event for independents like you to learn more about the AlphaGraphics Value Proposition and how we can help you either grow and prosper, or build a more successful exit strategy. We are seeking new partners in your market.

Take a peak at the topics the agenda covers:

1. Technology and R&D Support
2. Center Level Marketing Programs
3. AlphaGraphics’s Unique Selling Proposition
4. Becoming a Marketing Service Provider
5. OnBoarding & Network Support Structure
6. AlphaGraphics’s Proprietary Funding Assistance Programs
7. Owner & Team Training Programs
8. Business Development & Outside Sales Systems
9. Operations & Workflow Assistance
10. Visit 3 Local Centers and Franchisee Q&A Sessions

2014 was a strong year for our Franchisee Partners.  We are ready for a great 2015, and interested in partnering with you to grow together.

Please join us in February to learn if the AlphaGraphics Opportunity fits your goals and business plan. The trip is on us, there is no commitment by coming – we simply invite you to come take a peek first hand. Email or call, Kelley Rieves AlphaGraphics Independent Business Recruiter, today if you’re interested in joining us. <>


We forward to hearing from you!


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December 12th, 2014

40 Brand Logos With Hidden Messages

A company’s logo says a lot about its brand, often containing subliminal messages that convey key points about the product or service.

A classic example is the arrow hidden within the negative white space between the E and the X in FedEx.

Fed Ex

AdWeek explores 40 great logos and what they represent in this fascinating piece. Click here to view the full story.

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October 24th, 2014

AlphaGraphics Gains Traction Across Houston Region

Craig Hohler says a new large format signage suite at his AlphaGraphics Business Center has been a game changer for his team – with the capability to print virtually any size on any material, even in three dimensions, all it takes is a creative idea. As one of seven AlphaGraphics locations in the Houston area, Hohler is helping lead the company’s growth in one of the nation’s strongest business markets.

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 11.27.39 AM“The new flatbed printer is 5 feet by 10 feet, so we can produce individual components up to five feet tall and create 3D signage on aluminum, acrylic, fabric – really anything we can dream up,” Hohler says. “And we work closely with the other AG locations in the area, so we have a network of resources available. Houston is a strong market that offers a lot of opportunity for us as franchisees and for new entrepreneurs to join us as we continue to increase our reach.”

Seven AlphaGraphics Business Centers currently serve the Houston area, including Hohler in West Houston and other locations in Willowbrook/Cypress, Northwest Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, the Woodlands, and near the Houston Medical Center. AlphaGraphics Business Builder Program Manager Kelley Rieves sees significant growth potential in the Houston area for existing and new franchisees, as well as for partnerships with independent businesses.

“We’re really bullish on growth in areas including Houston proper, Humble, and on the south and southeast sides of the city,” Rieves said. “We’ve got some great brand coverage, but it’s amazing to look at all of the potential areas – nearly all of the actual city of Houston, areas like Pearland, League City, Webster, Pasadena, the Kingwood-Humble area. We’re working with aspiring entrepreneurs and independent business owners in the area who are looking to either transition the business from buyer to seller or convert the brand and join the network.

AlphaGraphics’ Business Builder program is designed to connect buyers with sellers, and share the network systems and resources with capable independents who are wanting to make their businesses stronger.

“We help guide candidates and independent owners through the entire process, from finding acquisition opportunities based on individual needs, understanding the assessments, securing funding, exploring deal structures, and facilitating through the completed purchase,” Rieves said.

As a native of Houston, Rieves knows the market well and is excited to see the brand grow.

“If you look at AlphaGraphics’ presence in Dallas-Forth Worth, for instance, we’ve got considerably more business centers there,” she said. “We’re able to work with more small and medium-sized businesses, and we’ve been able to use our conversion program to partner with strong independents. Everyone wins – our franchisees, the independents and franchise candidates.”

AlphaGraphics’ nationwide same-center sales were up more than 10 percent in the fiscal year that ended in July, and the Houston market led that gain. Rieves says they’ve done it by leveraging the power of the brand, implementing network initiatives like AG Signs, and evolving the business from the simple print shop to a full-service marketing communications solution for small and medium-sized businesses.

Cher Schmitt, a graphic designer at AlphaGraphics Willowbrook, attributes their center’s drastic growth to educating customers on capabilities.

“When customers come in, we talk to them about their goals,” Schmitt said. “Then we make recommendations on how to brand themselves, catch the attention of their prospects, communicate with their customers and reach new ones. It’s a lot of fun to help our customers grow, and watch us grow as they do.”

Rieves says the success of the Business Builder program is rooted in partnerships.

“We’ve really beefed up our partnership program with independent businesses,” she said. “Whether they are looking to grow and expand, position themselves for their own exit strategy, or find the best candidate possible to buy their business, we’re ready to take them through the entire process. Time and again, this has meant a new business opportunity for one and a leveraged exit strategy for another.”

To learn more about the AG Business Builder program, or to read franchise partner profiles, customer case studies and industry news, please visit

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September 22nd, 2014

New Franchisee Brings Decades of Experience to Connecticut Center

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 4.36.10 PMBob 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.”

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