Second Generation Owner Frank Bittner, Jr. Shares Keys to Family Business Longevity and Growth
CHERRY HILL, NJ AND PHILADELPHIA
When Frank Bittner, Jr. first worked alongside his father Frank, Sr., it was March 1990. “I was 17, still in high school, and it was summer before senior year,” Frank, Jr. explains. Minuteman Press franchise at Cherry Hill. It’s amazing to think that was 32 years ago.”
In October 1992, Frank, Sr. opened Minuteman Press in Cherry Hill, and 30 years later, Frank, Jr. and his wife Kelly still own and operate the family business. Frank, Jr. says, “The chance to work side-by-side with my dad for all these years was incredibly special. I started running the store in 1997, and Kelly and I bought the store from my dad a while ago. 5 or 6 years old. My Uncle Joe also joined the team early on and now runs our Hainesport shop, so it really is a family business on every level.”
Keys to success
Frank isn’t shy about sharing the biggest key to success for Minuteman Press in Cherry Hill. He says, “We build relationships with our customers, and we just don’t give them a reason to leave us.
He continues: “We have had many customers for over 20 years, and some since day one. For example, we have been working with some of the local car dealerships since our opening. Once customers find you and know they can count on you, cost is not a factor because there is real trust in that relationship.”
“What really comes back is being likeable, building that trust, and forming a close bond that leads to residual/regular customers. Providing that personalized service with the products they need is how we’ve successful.” -Frank Bittner, Jr., Owner, Minuteman Press, Cherry Hill, NJ
Expanding Products and Services
During the pandemic, Minuteman Press in Cherry Hill remained open and operated as an essential business. As a result, Frank saw a trend that continues to help his business today.
He shares, “One thing we noticed during the pandemic was that a lot of local municipalities were spending, buying extra products from us that we hadn’t done for them before. We have had an increase in sales from these municipal, township and county groups. Therefore, we are now taking more orders from them today, such as plastic ID cards and plaques for their employees. We had already done some of their printing for retractable banners, carbonless forms and envelopes, and now we’re getting to do more.”
Just reaching out to other local businesses during the pandemic to see how they were doing helped boost business today. Frank shares, “We just wanted to show that we care about our customers and remain available to help them. At that time, we focused on in-house Every Door Direct Mail, and our EDDM business really took off. .”
He adds, “In addition to mail-outs, customers now come back to us with orders for trade show supplies, large format printing, promotional products, apparel, items for community events and trade shows. jobs, raffles and tickets to local events, and more. “
“I think people always want to have something in their hands. They may be used to their phone, but having a tangible print marketing piece that shows bullet points is special. Print will always be a vital information tool. .” -Frank Bittner, Jr.
Cherry Hill, NJ is New Jersey’s largest suburb outside of Philadelphia. It is mainly home to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as schools and local organizations. To market his Cherry Hill business, Frank followed the Minuteman Press system for over 30 years.
Frank says, “I belong to the same two networking groups my dad first joined, the Voorhees Business Association (VBA) and the Marlton Business Association (MBA). We are also members of the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce. It’s important to get involved and have that personal relationship with members of your community. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, they’re buying from you. I’m not a faceless entity, I’m Frank the owner, and that makes a huge difference.
Additionally, Frank also participates in the Minuteman Press Internet Marketing Program. “It’s great to have this program in place to generate leads online, as it’s another way to secure orders and then build relationships with customers.”
Support from Minuteman Press
When it comes to being a part of Minuteman Press, support comes in many forms. Frank says, “Minuteman Press support is always there when I need it, and always has been. They’ve helped with training and staffing, provided great advice, and our vice -Regional President Rich Hornberger is a tremendous asset to us.. Rich truly cares about the owners in his region, and I always appreciate his input.”
Frank also enjoys the FLEX software as he has seen it evolve and improve over the years. “FLEX is so valuable and robust for pricing, marketing and management. It’s great to see some popular suggestions from owners being implemented. I love the integration with our vendors and the idea of getting Advance deposits is fantastic. Everything about making quotes easier and receiving payments easier is a huge benefit to our business.”
During the first days and weeks of the pandemic, Frank credits the daily emails and communications he received from Minuteman Press world headquarters and Nick Titus for reassuring him at a crucial time. “The emails we received from Nick were fantastic and I looked forward to them every day. They also helped us pivot quickly by implementing new marketing strategies and selling essential products. stopped for the first time, couldn’t stop thinking about my family and my stuff. It lasted 3 days, then we came back to the store, the phones kept ringing, and we didn’t miss a beat.”
He continues: “Without the help of the company and without this morale boost at such a critical time, I don’t know if we could have rebounded so quickly. It was also a huge asset to have the other franchisees in place. our system to exchange ideas and share advice. It’s all been extremely valuable.”
“We were encouraged to keep plugging in, and we did. We printed heat transfer face masks. We printed new menus for restaurants and we filled our community with graduation signs for local schools we had relationships with. By staying open, we helped one of our energy customers scale up their shipments with EDDM and personalized shipments, and their sales have doubled since the pandemic. He is now one of our biggest customers.” -Frank Bittner, Jr.
Rewards and tips for others
Looking back on 32, Frank shares, “Flexibility and quality of life are the two greatest rewards of being your own boss. I was able to set my own schedule and be there for my children. I allowed my employees to have the same flexibility so we could all share the same mindset of caring about the business while being there for our families.”
When asked what advice he would give to others, Frank replied, “I’m a big proponent of cross-training my employees. My advice is to have one or two key people who can do everything front to back. Also, don’t expect to come in and not be there. You have to be there and you have to be proactive.
Frank concludes, “Minuteman Press International is always moving forward. They fine-tune the next step and are on top of industry trends. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience and follow the system. That’s what we’ve been doing now for over 30 years and it’s still going.”
Minuteman Press in Cherry Hill is located at 2060 Springdale Rd., Suite 700, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. For more information, call 856-817-8400 or visit their website: https://minuteman.com/us/locations/nj/cherry-hill/
Learn more about the #1 ranked Minuteman Press franchise opportunities and view Minuteman Press franchise reviews at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com
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