Vivek Rai, owner, Minuteman Press franchise, Vienna, VA.

Franchise Review: Minuteman Press Comes to Rescue in Washington, DC

Vivek Rai used to visit his grandfather’s print shop in India as a kid, just for fun (or sometimes just to get a break from school).  It was a business that ran successfully for many years so it is no wonder that, in adulthood, “Vick” was a motivated entrepreneur.

It is further no coincidence that when he wished to move on from one business venture to another, he went to a trade show and was fascinated to discuss the possibility of buying a printing business with Bob Heimbuch, Regional Vice President for the highly decorated printing industry leader, Minuteman Press International.  After thorough research, Vick knew that fate led this franchise opportunity to him.  It was as if his lineage, entrepreneurial wisdom and tenacity merged with this worthy opportunity so he could build upon the print legacy his grandfather gave to him and become part of the modern printing industry as a Minuteman Press franchise owner.

Vick has been in the United States for 18 years now and in the Washington, DC area for ten of those years.  He has been the premier marketing services provider for his community since 2011 as owner of Minuteman Press in Tysons Corner, just ten miles outside of our nation’s capital.  Helping other businesses establish and build a customer base through customized integrated marketing is something for which his franchisor, Minuteman Press International is famous.  However, every business owner must pool his or her individual talents into the adventure that is attracting and keeping long-term clients. “At first, it was a challenge getting new customers since I didn’t know a lot of people, but having traveled internationally and in the U.S., I could also relate to my customers since most were not local, DC natives.  That ability to connect allowed me to build a rapport with many that have been great customers and good friends for years now,” he is happy to say.

With the proximity to DC, Vick and his staff enjoy a diverse crowd of customers, mainly dealing with government contractors, IT companies and other corporate and national companies.  Also, as a B2B services industry leader, local retail shop owners rely upon the products and services of his Minuteman Press center for the proper development and promotion of their brands.

“Customer service is one of the main focuses of being a small business.  Whether someone orders some business cards or 10,000 books I treat each with the same attention.  There is a lot of competition so I keep my standards high by making every job the best it can be, backing it up with a guarantee,” Vick adds.

Minuteman Press and Vivek Rai come to the rescue for the Washington D.C Mayor’s Office on African Affairs

When you are working from a tradition of excellence in the role of a Minuteman Press franchise owner, your solid reputation for getting the job done will precede you.  In the case of Vivek Rai, his contact person, Heran Sereke-Brhan, from a local non-profit (that is still one of his loyal customers) took a new position with the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs.  Government offices such as those have lists of vendors from which they must choose when they need printing work done, but something unfortunate occurred when an approved government vendor was put in charge of an important project.  They simply didn’t have the ability to finish the job in time and they made some mistakes along the way.  There were errors in the proof from the original vendor and they admitted to the Mayor’s office that they may not get the job done in time.  Vick explains, “Heran contacted us because they needed design and printing done in a rush and their vendor wasn’t able to do it which opened the possibility for us to step in and come to the rescue since their official vendor couldn’t pull through.”

The project was for a prestigious event they were having at the Lincoln Theater, their 10th anniversary celebration.  As this was a big, important event and they needed everything done perfectly and on-time.  Vick continues, “We needed to fix the whole design because it was not impressive and the layout was poor.  We had to start from scratch to produce 500 full-color programs on nice, linen paper as well as a large background banner and various other printed necessities such as roll-up banners.”  The concerns of the government’s office were relieved thanks to Heron remembering the excellent work that Minuteman Press had always done while she was working with the non-profit organization.  Vick was pleased to sweep in and pull it all together, adding, “Our graphic designer went to work and designed the cover and interior of the program.  We were able to produce everything they needed and helped them make their event a success.”

Large banner produced by Minuteman Press for the Mayor's Office on African Affairs 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Large banner produced by Minuteman Press for the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Once the entire project and all of its components were completed to satisfaction, Vick and his team personally delivered the items to Heran’s office and shipped an impressive, printed sign to the venue.  As if that wasn’t enough to honor his part as a marketing services provider when an unforeseen challenge developed that had the organizers challenged to assemble the sign on-site, in swept Vick and Minuteman Press International Field Representative, Eric Shank, to assist the client once again. This time the service was the proper assembly of their new, sharp-looking event back drop sign, much to the delight of event organizers from the Mayor’s office.

Mamadou Samba, Director of the Office on African Affairs, was delighted to express his appreciation for Minuteman Press, Vick and his entire team for their partnership, particularly since they came in with the save for their 10th anniversary bash in 2016.  He says, “Vivek and Minuteman Press have been wonderful partners of the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs and have contributed to the success of our program with their high professionalism, fast turnaround on orders and excellent customer service.  I am always impressed by the quality of their work and the efforts invested in understanding our needs in order to deliver the best possible product.  During our 10th anniversary celebration in September 2016, Vivek and his team went above and beyond to design and deliver stylish, slick and aesthetically pleasing event programs, flyers, and banners that speak to their professionalism, expertise and uniqueness.”

Vick was destined to be a printer as was his grandfather before him, but he’s gone much further and become a respected digital print, design and marketing services expert thanks to the evolution of the printing industry.  He reflects with appreciation on his continuing journey, “I feel owning a small business is a challenge but rewarding if done right. I feel blessed because when I started I had a great support structure with Minuteman Press International as well as my fellow franchise owners in the DC Metro area.”