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.
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.