Tracie Hansen Brings Valuable Marketing and Communications Experience to International Minute Press in Flagstaff, Arizona
In Flagstaff, an Independent Print Shop Owner Retired At the Right Time By Selling to a Strong Businesswoman in Tracie Hansen Who Converted it into an International Minute Press Franchise
September 09, 2019 // Franchising.com // PHOENIX & FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Tracie Hansen spent two decades putting her degrees in both marketing and communications to work on behalf of Northern Arizona University, but she was not meant to be an employee forever. Tracie dreamed of being her own boss, as she states, “I always wanted to own my own business, but never knew if I would.” She is now the owner of International Minute Press in Flagstaff, Arizona, which was converted from an independent print shop with the help of her franchisor Minuteman Press International.
Tracie carried on as an invaluable member of the University’s marketing communications department and public affairs. She took her last role, sending six-million communications to potential freshmen while part of the enrollment marketing effort, using digital print, direct mail and printed publications that she worked in print on a daily basis. It was as if it was foreshadowing her eventual departure from the workforce to buy an International Minute Press franchise. The time needed to be right and she had lots of research yet to do. “After twenty years, I had experience working in print on a daily basis, understanding deadlines, budgets and the customer’s perspective.”
Devoted not just to her family, Tracie truly loves her community. “My husband, Glenn, and I have lived here for more than twenty years because we love it and we wanted to raise our family here. We are a mountain town with a blend of rural and metro, at the base of gorgeous mountain peaks.” In the middle of the largest continuous forest in the United States, she knows it’s not what people typically picture when they think of Arizona. “My son is finishing his freshman year in college and my daughter is a sophomore in high school. It made me think, ‘What’s next?’”
She consulted with Glenn about bringing to reality her lifelong desire to be an entrepreneur. Though she was already adept at unifying digital and printed marketing into a keen strategy for recruitment, Tracie did not look first at buying a printing business. “I looked at everything from restaurants, book stores to chocolate shops.”
Tracie would occasionally scan bizbuysell.com in what she called “window shopping” and one day she saw a print shop for sale and didn’t realize it was a franchise opportunity at the time. “When I saw Minuteman Press International come up, it was so comfortable for me because I spent a lot of time working alongside printing technology. Since I was afraid to do this alone and never ran a business before, I met Jack Panzer (Regional Vice President) and started talking with his active franchisees. The more I learned, the more I felt this was the perfect way for me to go into business for myself.”
It was over the course of nine months of discussion with Jack and the seller, along with a good deal of contemplation that she ended up buying an independent print shop and converting it to an International Minute Press Franchise. Tracie was ready, explaining, “The location was operated by the same owner for years and they did a fine job, so they had a solid customer base. It was serendipitous for them to meet and like me at the time they were ready to retire. I knew it was the right fit and Minuteman Press International helped us make it happen.”
The print shop owners decided to retire, selling the printing business and putting it into good hands. They knew Tracie and Glenn were going to do justice to his life’s work with a brand that is respected everywhere. According to Tracie, “Ed and Betty owned the store for about 13 years and built a very solid business with a loyal customer base. They retired in October and I bought the business from them. We still stay in touch; it's been a very smooth transition.”
Financing for buyers is favorable right now and those “in the know” realize that may not always be the case. For the Hansen family, the concentrated effort it took to buy their franchise has been paying off. “It took a lot of creative financing to buy this business, and it's going to take me a while to pay off my debt. That said, it feels really good to come out of the gate being able to pay my bills and pay my staff. I think it was priced right. The support from headquarters and my field rep and regional VP has been well worth the investment.”
“I understand deadlines, budgets, unusual requests and how to find outside the box solutions. Our clients always come first. It is a strength I bring into my International Minute Press center.” – Tracie Hansen
She bought her franchise in October 2018. On the training provided by Minuteman Press International at their World HQ in New York, she remarks, “We had the BEST group of classmates with two Canadians, a couple from Australia and the chance to learn just about everything in the printing industry today. One of the most helpful aspects of it was the hands-on training in our proprietary software. I paid for printing before, but I never priced jobs and competitive pricing is very important.” She recognizes not only her areas of strength but also the ones in which she needed her franchisor’s guidance. “Basic business functions such as proficiency in QuickBooks were among the things I did not bring to the table and they taught me. I eventually hired an accountant to help me as we grow now.”
“I would say the training provided by Minuteman Press International served me by giving me the confidence that I knew a lot more than I gave myself credit for. So, after 10 days of training I felt, ‘I got this!’” – Tracie Hansen
As Glenn still works for the University, he plays a role in Tracie’s business but she feels he will likely become more active in the center when he retires. “Both of my kids are already on my payroll. My son, Zach, comes in to do finishing work during breaks and this summer I will train him in customer service. My daughter, Natalie, is a busy high school student athlete, on travel teams, so she fills in when we get busy.”
Everything they do at International Minute Press in Flagstaff is rooted in personalized service. Tracie feels it is the reason the former owner knew she would be a good match to replace him after thirteen years. “Customer service is at the forefront of everything we do,” Tracie says. “We are always thinking about the experience of every client, cognizant of their deadlines and our quality and making sure we are efficient the whole way.”
During the transition from independent print shop to the full-service International Minute Press printing and marketing center it is today, the talented staff stayed on to work for Tracie. She says, “How lucky I am! Kelsey is my front house manager, the one who people meet first. She has been here 5 years and has a lot of insight about people’s preferences which has been great for me as the new owner. She has a great attitude and is a problem-solver. Don is my designer and has been here for 10 years and he has all of the same kinds of talent Kelsey does, but specific to design, bringing depth and knowledge. He knows how to help brands evolve. They both had to relearn how to do ‘day to day’ as we upgraded to the Minuteman Press International system of operations. This included business processes like our software and job descriptions. What they bring as I learn all of it, is so valuable.”
Being a premier marketing services provider in a big town that still has a small-town feel is satisfying to Tracie. “I feel like I am a partner with our customers, helping them develop ideas into reality so they can thrive. We brainstorm and solve problems every day and it’s rewarding to serve that function. We are creative so we love coming up with fresh designs. We see a lot of beautiful artwork as we work with local artists creating notecards, canvases and postcards.”
Tracie adds, “We are surrounded by creativity, but we also take care of wide format printing and promotional products. These are huge areas of growth for us. People love ordering branded items, but it can be overwhelming because there are ten thousand types of pens alone. Which one do you want and how do you whittle it down to the best choice is where we come in to help. It is time consuming, but when we get to the end point when they are holding something we produced just for them, it is a lot of fun.”
Tracie knows she is on her way up in terms of success and is not shy about the amount of work it will take to reach her idea of the top. Still, she knows she’s not alone and she is glad she invested into a business that was already up and running.
Ten years ago, if you asked, Tracie says, “I would have hoped to be doing exactly this, owning my own business. It was only a few years ago that I was on the lookout for the right chance but now I am actually doing it. It is terrifying, but more of a thrill every day as time ticks by because I get more of the ‘I got this’ feeling. Then a new design or printing request comes in and it’s humbling. There is always more to learn.”
About Minuteman Press International
Minuteman Press International, which operates as International Minute Press in Arizona, is the number one rated business marketing and printing franchise that offers world class training and unparalleled ongoing local support. Started in 1973 by Roy Titus and his son Bob, Minuteman Press International began franchising in 1975 and has grown to nearly 1,000 business service franchise locations worldwide including the U.S., Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Minuteman Press International is ranked #1 in category by Entrepreneur 28 times and 16 years in a row, including 2019. Independent franchisee satisfaction firm Franchise Business Review has also named Minuteman Press International to its 2019 Top Franchises, 2018 Top Franchise Leaders, Top Franchises for Women, and Top Franchises for Veterans lists thanks to positive reviews from our owners.
At Minuteman Press International, We Are The Modern Printing Industry™ providing high quality products and services that meet the needs of today's business professionals and go way beyond ink on paper. Today, our centers offer innovative branding solutions and produce custom designs, promotional products, branded apparel, direct mail marketing, large format printing (banners and posters), signs and graphics, and much more. Prior experience is not necessary to own and operate a successful Minuteman Press International franchise.
To learn more about #1 rated franchise opportunities and speak with one of our experienced franchise representatives at no obligation, call 1-800-645-3006. Continue your franchise research, watch exclusive owner videos and access franchise reviews at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com
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