Minuteman Press in Chilliwack reports record sales by helping local businesses recover from pandemic

Second-generation Minuteman Press franchisees Gord and Alisa Gelderman with their awards.

For Gord and Alisa Gelderman, no year was more challenging for their family-owned Minuteman Press franchise in Chilliwack, British Columbia, than 2020. At the same time, because printing was classified as an essential business, both were able to remain open and operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Minuteman Press in Chilliwack was able to reach out and be there for their clients. By supporting other local businesses at such a critical time, Gord and Alisa were able to rebound from the initial and ongoing pandemic, and grow their sales significantly by the end of 2020.

Today, the Geldermans are members of the Minuteman Press International President’s Million-Dollar Circle for achieving yearly gross sales of at least $1 million. This is especially impressive because they achieved record sales for their 23-year-old business despite the initial challenges of the lockdowns last year. “It means a lot to us that we’ve been able to grow our business to this level,” Gord added. “We had a significant dip in sales for a while in 2020 when the pandemic first hit, but were able to recoup and exceed those losses by the end of the year. Two things were key in this: Our great staff and the excellent position that the franchise support from Minuteman Press International has put us in, to help us adapt and grow.”

He also credits the renewed support and solidarity among the small local business community for being able to grow during the pandemic. “There’s just this sense of all of us helping each other out. At the beginning of the pandemic, we kept promoting ourselves as essential, reminding clients that we’re still open and here to help. We made sure to let them know of our delivery and curbside pick-up options, and we established a strong rapport by promoting and shopping locally with other small businesses.”

Minuteman Press in Chilliwack has been operating since 1998 and was first operated by Alisa’s father Henry. Gord and Alisa officially took over the business when Henry retired in 2016. The community ties they’ve built as a family business for 23 years have also been a huge help to continuing to thrive despite the pandemic. “Things have come full circle for Alisa, and I am so happy that we are still standing strong as a business and as a community as we emerge from this together.”

Print seen as essential

“Client responses have been overwhelmingly positive,” Gord pointed out. “We accommodate rush orders due to ever-changing government COVID-19 policies, we have an excellent and fast graphic designer who has a pulse for what our clients need, and we try our best to design and print pretty much anything. For example, we have received high-demand for floor/window decals and signs from all kinds of businesses, as well as disposable and takeout menus from restaurants. As we got closer to Christmas, we saw increased demand for promotional items, particularly custom branded apparel. A lot of companies wanted to do something extra for their employees and we had the services already in place to help in this regard.”

Print has also been vital to helping the community celebrate different milestones when physical gatherings have been limited. “We put a lot of effort into a campaign to print personalized grad signs for the kids who didn’t get to have a graduation, including our own daughter” he recalled. “The response was phenomenal! While each sign was custom and the whole project was time consuming, it brought many people to our shop that have never interacted with us before. It also promoted that ‘all in this together’ feeling that our community really needed at the time.”

Another way that Minuteman Press in Chilliwack has been helping clients stay connected with their potential customers is through their direct mail services. “We offer all types of marketing services including mailing, which we are doing more now than ever before. We also take a cross-media marketing approach to promote our own business, which is something we can help our clients do. We participate in the Minuteman Press International Internet Marketing program and have focused on increasing Google reviews for our business by simply asking our customers to review their experience with us. People come to us with a problem and we have the solutions waiting for them. The printing industry in general loves to help out others, even if it means staying late or coming in early to complete the order on time. We are also in a unique position providing mostly to the business community. We have been able to use our social media accounts to promote other local businesses by highlighting the printing we do for them, which is just one example of how we take a cross-media approach to marketing.”

Neil MacLeod, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for Western Canada, added: “I’d like to congratulate Gord and Alisa on all of their well-earned success over the years including their impressive growth during the pandemic. They truly care about their community and show it by supporting other local businesses. Gord and Alisa have followed the Minuteman Press franchise system and have successfully adapted to meet the needs of their clients as businesses continue to reopen.”

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