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Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019
Minuteman Press Franchise in Barrington, Illinois Is Favored by a Community That Supports Local Businesses
Converting an independent print shop into a Minuteman Press franchise, Gary Kreuz lends his business acumen to a growing customer base with a world-respected brand.
BARRINGTON, Ill. -- Before he became an entrepreneur and Minuteman Press franchisee, Gary Kreuz was frequently asked to “fix things,” which is a modest description he gives to helping companies surge in profit. As Vice President and General Manager of a U.S. company owned by a German manufacturer, he was responsible for sales and service of the machines in North America. He also managed several other companies over his career. “I started in the office staff in 1976 and went from sales to sales manager and then to branch manager. When I was asked to become president of another company that was in trouble and needed help in 1993, we rebuilt the team and reversed the downward spiral in sales to wind up doing 25 million in sales. Along the way, there were several companies I started up for someone or I would run divisions within these companies.”
The last company to benefit from his talent was stagnant until he joined them and helped take sales from a million and a half up to seven million. It continued to grow even as his professional trajectory changed when his position was eliminated and he was let go. At that point, he and his wife Nancy took a hard look at their options and were determined to find something that would ensure no one could lay either of them off ever again.
“I expected to spend 8 more years working at that German company, but when I was terminated at age 62, I realized that even getting an interview much less another job with similar income and responsibilities to what I had previously was impossible. I was doing very well in my career, but suddenly, when I needed a new position, no one would hire me. Essentially, I was forced to be an entrepreneur. I knew I needed to find a way to hire myself.”
“As a Minuteman Press franchise owner, this is my business. Now, no one can terminate my employment.” – Gary Kreuz, owner, Minuteman Press franchise, Barrington, Illinois
Gary and Nancy Kreuz had enough life and business experience to know that this was a decision that required expert advice. Among those advisors, they made a good connection with Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President Doug Harlan, who listened to their story and helped them find the perfect new situation. “When I was talking to Doug, he told me he had something a little different for us to consider. He put me in contact with a local, independent print shop owner who was ready to retire and we talked for about 3 or 4 months.
At that point, we worked out a deal so she could retire, and we could take on a new business that was not starting at zero. We bought a successful print shop and converted it into a Minuteman Press franchise in Barrington, IL.”
He adds one last cherry on the sundae of their fresh professional start, “Our center is only four miles from our house.”
Nancy and Gary work together these days, an unplanned pleasantry that they enjoy without regret. “Nancy raised our children full-time and made it possible for me to build a career. Now, she is mostly taking care of the bookkeeping and we are learning together how best to take care of our customers and meet our goals.”
Their grand opening was held in November 2018, and the Minuteman Press brand helps Gary and Nancy by providing a proven system of operations and lifetime support. Like any small business, they’ve had their hurdles and are currently jumping them. “We live in a small town of about 10,000 and I would say easily ten percent of them are quite affluent. We have a lot of non-profits and everyone is very loyal to Barrington companies. When we converted this independent print shop to a Minuteman Press franchise, some of the people perceived our brand as ‘a big company’ but the local clientele is learning (and we are demonstrating) that we are different than other franchises and corporations. We are a local company and as they are dedicated to buying locally, we assure them we live nearby and the business is family-owned.”
Gary further explains the culture he is trying to build on: “My philosophy on customer service is (as I taught all of my salespeople over the years in my former career) to find out what the customer needs and then deliver that plus a little more, with a smile.”
While Minuteman Press in Barrington remains a family-owned and operated small business, Gary and Nancy are able to provide a wide variety of products and services such as printing essentials, promotional items, branded apparel, signs and banners, direct mail marketing campaigns, and custom graphic design. The community of Barrington is smiling brighter as Gary and Nancy join fellow Minuteman Press franchise owners who can say We Are the Modern Printing Industry since they can produce anything you can put a name, image, or logo on.
It is a delightful switch from his prior industry to marketing services as Gary gets the pleasure of observing happy customers as he delivers just what they need. “It is fun to watch customers open packages and rave about the jobs we do for them. I deliver many completed jobs, calling and offering to visit and most welcome me to come; but they like to come to our center and see us, too.” There is reason. The previous owner didn’t offer nearly the range that Gary and Nancy have now and they put it all into a beautiful setting for everyone to see as they walk inside. “The now retired owner didn’t offer promotional products and now that we offer a lot, we updated our lobby for comfort and to display everything, making it more professional. It is a showroom with samples of products and apparel to see, touch and discuss,” Gary explains.
In addition to providing new products and services, Minuteman Press Barrington recently acquired local print shop Forrest Press. This helped the owners retire and eased the transition for long-time customers.
Independent print shop Forrest Press was founded in Lake Barrington in 1947 by Nick and Char Olker, and eventually included their sons Steve and Chuck. “We are very proud of the success of our company over two generations of service to our customers,” says Chuck Olker.
“As we retire from the printing business, we are also happy to have worked out an agreement with Minuteman Press of Barrington where our customers will get the same great service from Gary and his team that they have come to count on from us.”
“It is our goal to provide the past clients of Forrest Press a seamless transition of printing services,” says Gary. “With our experienced staff and the complete art files provided to us by Forrest Press, Minuteman Press Barrington will be able to do just that.”
Minuteman Press makes a difference for local organizations including Barrington United Way
Leslie Luther is the Executive Director for the Barrington United Way and she has high praise for Gary Kreuz and the partnership she maintains with Minuteman Press. “We are consistently pleased with the work that is produced by Gary and his team. Minuteman Press in Barrington has quickly become a community partner, sponsoring local community projects with our organization.”
Leslie is impressed with Gary’s service and with the transition he made into franchise ownership from what was an independent print shop she used previously. “Quick response when we need projects completed in a short period of time is so helpful to fundraising organizations and Gary never disappoints. I also want to add that the transition from the private print shop to a Minuteman Press franchise has been smooth and one that we welcome into our community. We are happy to have a mutually beneficial working relationship with a local business owner like Gary at Minuteman Press who understands the importance of philanthropy. We look forward to the partnership for many years to come.”
For all of its rewards to lifestyle and freedom from corporate downsizing and layoffs, having a business can be challenging, but Gary is not concerned. “My relationship with Minuteman Press International is great. First, I used to have to develop all these systems and relationships on my own whether it was a new division in a different country or a company here in the US. I would have to develop practices by trial and error, but with a franchise like this one, I can trust their experience and they pass it on to us. I am relieved to NOT have the extra work in that area. After all, as the owner of a franchise I know someone has had a great idea for the business and I can use the idea without needing to create a new one. Also, the brand is a help because I get their best practices and value-added relationships (like choice vendors) and all of that helps us become what we really are, a local family-owned business happy to serve our neighbors in marketing, print and design.”
Gary adds with a smile, “Before I was selling machines to large corporations all over the country. Today, we live among our customers. It is a pleasure.”
Gary and Nancy Kreuz’ family-owned Minuteman Press franchise is located at 200 James Street, Barrington, IL 60010. For more information, call 847-382-1185.
Minuteman Press International 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 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 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, 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 franchise.