Dean of Franchise Development Puts Proven Principles to Work with Instant Imprints

Ralph Askar Leads Instant Imprints into Strategic Franchise Growth Phase

January 18, 2012 // Franchising.com // SAN DIEGO – Ralph Askar is at it again. Widely recognized for the key role he’s played during the past three decades in directing the acclaimed worldwide expansion of The UPS Store/Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE), Askar is putting the same principles into action as he sets his sights on drastically increasing Instant Imprints’ footprint across North America and beyond.

“I have seen what it takes for a franchise concept to be a game changer -- to separate itself and rise above the competition. Instant Imprints is now part of a rarefied group in retail franchising that is on the cusp of extraordinary growth,” said Askar, who successfully lead the evolution of MBE/UPS into the indisputable king of the postal category as an area franchisee, corporate executive and master franchisee in Canada and the United Kingdom. “I can’t say enough about how hard we’ve worked to tailor the Instant Imprints franchise opportunity for today’s transitioning professionals, talented individuals who want to gain control of their lives professionally and personally.”

Askar’s proven leadership experience and entrepreneurial achievements have created an undeniable energy around the concept. The vibe can be felt at all levels of the franchise organization, and now it’s given way to the company’s most dynamic North American growth to date.

As announced today, Askar has initiated a five-year, strategic expansion plan to grow Instant Imprints to 500 locations. The large-scale growth strategy projects new units dotting the map in Instant Imprints’ home North American markets and crossing into new international territories. Today’s news marks the culmination of more than a years worth of enhancement efforts to elevate the Instant Imprints business model.

“Businesses need to evolve and change with the times. So we’ve made some bold moves to better serve our current and future franchisees, as well as our loyal and growing customer base,” added Askar, who initially joined the Instant Imprints family as the Canadian master franchisee and now holds controlling interest in the company as well as the post of president and CEO for Instant Imprints. “There’s no question about it, we are built to perform at peak capacity in an economy that is forever changed.”

Putting in place a collection of top talent to guide the innovative adjustments being made, Askar and the team he assembled have made a series of significant moves to position the business model for top performance. Among them are: 1) a 35% reduction in the cost of opening an Instant Imprints center; 2) eliminating inefficient equipment and replacing it with advanced technology that improves production; and 3) removing fees and markups that cut into center profitability. Additionally, Instant Imprints has established a few new critical vendor relationships that have cut down expenses and eased the burden previously placed on franchisees to develop suppliers on their own.

“Everything we’ve done has been with franchisee performance in mind,” said Bryan Smith, senior vice president, franchise development for Instant Imprints, a recent key addition to the company and a seasoned franchise industry growth expert. “Instant Imprints has a rich history as ‘the image people.’ We’re ready to carry on that tradition for many more years.”

As an indication of the company’s momentum, Instant Imprints is set to add up to 40 new North American units in 2012. In the first four weeks of the New Year alone, three new centers are scheduled to open. Three dramatic differentiators are attracting today’s franchise entrepreneurs, including:

  • Instant Imprints’ status as the only franchise system to offer an opportunity to capitalize on the ever-expanding promotional marketing industry with six revenue streams – embroidery, screen printing, heat transfers, signs, promotional products and commercial printing
  • The retail showroom environment that provides owners an attractive setting to serve as a one-stop-shop offering services that virtually every consumer, business and organization can use
  • The work-life balance the business presents to franchisees; centers are typically open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. five days a week

Awarding single and area franchise agreements, the Instant Imprints investment is ripe for experienced franchise investors as well as individuals transitioning into entrepreneurship from corporate America. Instant Imprints is also a fit for U.S. military veterans, who bring an appreciation of systems and processes to their work. The new Instant Imprints veterans program offers a discount of nearly $10,000 off of the franchise fee and a no interest loan on one-third of the remaining amount.

Complete with comprehensive training, site selection support, marketing programs and the purchasing power of the Instant Imprints’ network, the business model has been cultivated to cater to high quality candidates that understand the value of the proven system. The Instant Imprints franchise fee starts at $29,950.

About Instant Imprints

Instant Imprints is every community’s single source for everything they need to promote. With dual headquarters in Toronto and San Diego, Instant Imprint’s beginnings date back more than 60 years. Currently, there are more than 45 Instant Imprints centers in North America and more than 10 currently in development. To learn more about Instant Imprints’ custom-imprinted services, visit www.instantimprints.com. For information on the Instant Imprints franchise opportunity, e-mail Bryan Smith at bryans@instantimprints.com, call 1-800-542-3437, and visit www.instantimprints.com/franchise.

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