A former Coca Cola executive, a healthcare sales division leader and a director of operations for a high-fashion jewelry company – these are the profiles of AlphaGraphics franchise owners.
The leading print and marketing services company with more than 250 locations worldwide says credentialed corporate leaders are attracted to the entrepreneurial opportunity, and a year in, many are seeing tremendous success.
“It’s very rewarding to work with the kind of people who can choose their own path professionally, but see the potential in AlphaGraphics,” said Dave Buzza, the company’s chief development officer. “We’re very clear about the business realities on the front end and we go to great lengths to ensure the right fit, so we’re not surprised to see them winning in the marketplace.”
Curtis Gropman joined AlphaGraphics in early 2013, purchasing an independent print shop in Marietta, GA and subsequently converting it to an AlphaGraphics under their Acquisition/Conversion program. The former Coca Cola executive says the organization has challenged and supported him, but he recognizes that this is his own business.
“Anyone looking for anything other than personal accountability shouldn’t be an entrepreneur,” he says. “There’s opportunity and there’s risk, and those things are very closely related. But that’s what it’s all about.”
The first six months of 2014 brought a surge in new business and sales volume; the potential, he says, is unlimited.
“AlphaGraphics demonstrated to me that the potential existed, and you have to have the right mindset to make it happen,” Gropman says. “Somebody gave me the best advice when I was considering my future path: Talk to the winners and the losers, and determine who you’re most like. If you see that you’re more like the ones who aren’t successful, then you need to shift your plan.
La Jolla, CA’s Scott Weathers became an AlphaGraphics franchisee last year, building a 2,400 square-foot, state-of-the-art AG Business Center from the ground up. His decade of experience in sales helped establish a network of clients and prospects throughout the region, and his team is breaking monthly sales records consecutively.
“My flagship client is a local bank. We started by designing and producing four-color training materials for their mortgage department and the relationship grew from there,” he says. “We learned pretty quickly that if we ‘wow’ them and keep them coming back, then we have an opportunity to demonstrate the ways we can help them grow. It’s an exciting position to be in.”
Keith Gray in Arlington/Ft. Worth, TX, also purchased an existing commercial printing operation and converted it to an AlphaGraphics location late last year. He says the brand has facilitated conversations about expanded capabilities that are driving sales.
“Our May was up about 65 percent year over year, and we hit nearly $60,000 in sales in June,” Gray says.
More often than not, customers are looking to AlphaGraphics not only to deliver a print job, but also to drive the creative and marketing side of a project. For owners like Gray who have spent their careers building businesses, it’s a natural transition.
He says he could have just purchased a business on his own, but it would have been a big mistake.
“If I didn’t have the structure that AlphaGraphics offers, I couldn’t have made it,” Gray says. “They haven’t coddled us, but they have provided the training and systems and processes that have put us in a position to grow the business.”