MONTGOMERY, Ala.–What does the new Ghostbusters movie have to do with owning a printing franchise? Just ask Minuteman Press owners Hal and Marti Richardson, who started their own business in Montgomery, Alabama in November 1985. Little did they know that over 30 years later, they would see their daughter Meredith live her dream as a stuntwoman to Hollywood’s brightest stars. Their son Clay has also just graduated high school, and is headed to college in the fall.
How did Hal and Marti do it? With hard work, dedication to family, franchise support… and a whole lot of love and pride…
How We Became a Minuteman Press
By Hal Richardson, Minuteman Press franchise owner, Montgomery, Alabama
Marti and I met in a small town, Abbeville Alabama in 1981. We married in November 1982 and lived in Abbeville. I worked as a second shift manager in a textile mill called West Point Pepperell. Marti was a 5th grade school teacher.
We were both involved in church and when we got married, we felt called to go into mission work for the Home Mission Board. We were accepted into the Southern Baptist US-2 program. We quit our jobs move to California, working one year in the Bay Area and another year in LA.
After our two-year commitment we had to make another big decision. I wanted to own a business, and we wanted to move back to Alabama. We decided to go the franchise route. After checking out several franchises, we met Harlan Monfort, the regional director of Southern California for Minuteman Press International. He was very helpful and we visited several stores. I was impressed at how much he helped us even though we would be opening the store in Montgomery, Alabama.
I was also impressed with the Minuteman Press franchise organization itself. Printing fit my background, since I had managed production at West Point Pepperell. Even though I had never been in a print shop in my life, I knew I could do this with help from Minuteman.
So we signed up with Harlan in 1985, and he handed us off to Bob Moore, Regional Director in Atlanta. And the rest is history!
We opened our store in November of 1985, in Montgomery, Alabama. Since that time, we have moved twice, including to our present location 893 Lagoon Commercial Blvd. in Montgomery, which is 5,000 square feet.
The journey has been exciting, rewarding, scary, frustrating, happy, and any other emotion imaginable!
So, what got us to this point 30 years later?
Family support: Marti and I are proud to have celebrated 33 years of marriage last November. She worked full-time with me until our first child, Meredith, was born prematurely. She then began her journey of being a stay-at-home mom. Our second child, Clay, was born 7 years later and just graduated from high school. Marti is back with me at Minuteman Press part-time.
Employees: A “do or die” for a business! I have had some bad ones and some great ones! I have one employee, Mike, who has been with me for 28 years.
My advice: Hire the correct employee or get someone else!
Outside support: I feel fortunate to have had the Minuteman Press International home office working for me. They have from day one to the present offered their support.
My advice: Go to conventions. Talk to other Minuteman Press owners. Join printing associations. Ask for help!
Sales: You’ve got to have customers! Go get them, service them, and follow up with them.
My advice: Follow Minuteman Press’ advice!
Technology: In 1985, we had a 1360 multi and 1250 multi offset press, which produced about 95% of our work. Now, with digital printing, 95% of our work is produced on a Versant 2100, Xerox 770, and a Xerox D125. We still have an offset two-color press that we use 2 to 3 days per week.
My advice: From the front-end with computers to the high-speed color printers, you have to stay up on technology. Rely on Minuteman Press International to help you make those decisions.
Side note: The first Mac we bought had a 100meg hard drive, 8.5 x 14 black and white screen bundled with a laser printer for $15,000. Oh what technology you could buy now for $15,000!
Finances: Know your numbers! With today’s software, this is a lot easier. Do you have backup plans when times get tough or a large customer is slow-paying? Do you know your cost of goods and variable expenses? Can these be reduced without hurting production? Is there a way to reduce overhead?
My advice: These questions and many more need to be addressed. Flying without a compass will cause a crash.
These are just some things to consider. Did I do all these things correctly? Absolutely not! Just know that a lot of headaches would have been prevented if I had paid more attention to these and other critical systems of my business.
We are very fortunate to have been able to support our children. Meredith has been self-supported for a couple of years now and was able to buy a loft in downtown Atlanta. It was great being able to support her financially as she pursued her dream.
Clay is now headed to college, University of South Alabama, where he will be studying business.
In the immediate future, we are taking a vacation to Hawaii to be with Meredith. She is filming a movie there for the next 3 months.
As for Marti and me, we plan to keep the business booming for the next 5 years.
At that point, we would like to retire.
More on Meredith
Meredith started doing gymnastics as a preschooler and she never wanted to quit! She competed locally, regionally, and nationally. When she was about 10 years old, I casually mentioned that she should do what I always wanted to do – be a stunt person in the movies. She loved that idea and never forgot it! She even researched it for an assignment in high school.
After high school, she went to the University of Alabama and studied Sports and Exercise Science. She found out that filming was being done in New Orleans, so she visited there and began training and networking with stunt performers. She soon moved to Louisiana. Within the first few months there, she was able to get her SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card. She was in a TV show before working a few weeks on the movie “Oblivion” (Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman). Since that time, she has added 35 credits to her resume.
Last summer, Meredith was asked to work on the new “Ghostbusters” movie, which is coming out this week! She was the stunt double for one of the lead actresses in the movie – Kate McKinnon (who you might know from “Saturday Night Live”). Though we are not allowed to visit movie sets, we were able to watch her rehearse an outdoor scene for this movie. That was quite a thrill – seeing her fall/hang from a window!
Meredith has done a variety of stunts – fighting, falling, driving. Probably the most dangerous was catching on fire. You can keep up with her work by searching her name and finding her page on imdb.com.
Also, here is her stunt reel – we are so proud of her!
Hal and Marti Richardson’s Minuteman Press design, marketing and printing franchise is located at 893 Lagoon Commercial Blvd., Montgomery, AL 36117. For more information, call Hal and Marti at 334-277-5588 or visit their website: www.minutemanpressmontgomery.com.
To learn more about joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, call us at 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.