Turning a Diamond in the Rough into a Sparkling Business

After a 30-year career in retail logistics, and having had experience with printing equipment, Mitch Palin purchased a Minuteman Press franchise in Fair Lawn, NJ, starting the business with his son, a budding graphic designer.

 This Minuteman Press was the epitome of a diamond in the rough. About 10 minutes from Manhattan, the franchise had been in business for 17 years and had an established customer base. The previous owner had limited his business to traditional offset printing, however, and over the years had lost a lot of customers because he wasn’t equipped to handle the marketing materials, advertising materials, business cards, and similar jobs that were in demand in Fair Lawn - a community with over 3,000 businesses, organizations, and professional offices.

Palin’s first priority was upgrading his equipment. “I inherited two offset presses, a Ricoh black and white 9000 copier, a color printer and some bindery equipment,” remarks Palin. “I wanted to convert the business over quickly to take advantage of the digital work that was in demand, but had been neglected.”

Initially, Palin purchased a digital duplicator to take some of the business card and carbonless form work off the presses. “I was then able to quickly take care of customers who needed quick business cards and forms in basic colors—black, blue or red,” says Palin. As business picked up, and Palin stepped up his marketing efforts, the need to upgrade became critical.

With his lease on the color printer nearing expiration, Palin began looking at equipment options. “My number one objective was not to have to outsource any of the color work we were doing,” he explains. “I wanted to see which of the machines could handle everything, from basic 20-lb. paper through linen, and on up to 12- and 14-pt. Kromekotes.”

Palin went with the Ricoh Pro C900 for three main reasons: the way it performed with different substrates, its impressive speed, and the lower cost-per click. 

With the Ricoh Pro C900 in place, Palin is seeing immediate results. “With the old machine, if someone had called in 5,000 color flyers we would print 100 at a time we’d keep our fingers crossed,” Palin says. “With the C900, we can set it for 2,500 and feel confident that it’s going to run, it’s going to be consistent, and it’s not going to jam.”

Customers are benefitting from the Pro C900’s increased reliability and operating costs.  The Pro C900 lets Palin  move jobs from offset, reducing the cost to the customer by 15%, and showing them an example right on the spot. Plus, Palin says, he can do more design work and make an invitation really jump with art. “I find my customers are more attracted to that, as well as the cost savings,” says Palin. “And at a speed of 90 ppm, it’s twice as fast as what we could deliver before.”

The Pro C900 has helped Mitch Palin increase reliability, reduce costs, deliver top quality images, and tap into new markets for his Minuteman Press franchise. It has given Palin the capabilities and capacity he needed to turn a diamond in the rough into a solid and growing business enterprise.

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