After Working as an Attorney for 10 Years, Matthew Rebelo Came from South Africa to Southern California to Help His Parents Gabriel and Marcia with Their Minuteman Press Franchise in Encinitas; Matthew Shares His Insights on Joining the Family Business
ENCINITAS & SORRENTO VALLEY, Calif.—Gabriel and Marcia Rebelo arrived in the U.S. from Johannesburg, South Africa in 2012. Their American Dream came true when they purchased the Minuteman Press design, marketing, and printing franchise located at 1538 Encinitas Blvd. in Encinitas, California. Matthew Rebelo joined the family business in 2016, following in his parents’ footsteps and coming to the U.S. himself after working as an attorney for 10 years. Today, Matthew is now the co-owner of his second Minuteman Press printing franchise in Sorrento Valley with Shaun Peebles, a skilled manager, graphic designer, digital printing specialist that has worked with the Rebelo family since the beginning.
Together, the Rebelo family and Shaun Peebles have successfully grown their Minuteman Press franchises while Gabriel, Marcia, and Matthew have established themselves in a whole new country. They have been graciously embraced by the business community as well as their customers in Encinitas and Sorrento Valley, and are thankful for the franchise training and ongoing support they have received from their franchisor. As he reflects on his journey to entrepreneurship, Matthew offers his Minuteman Press franchise review and shares key insights about owning and growing a successful family printing business.
Building Business Relationships
Ask Matthew Rebelo about what it is like to help run a business in a tightknit community and he immediately lights up. He says, “Encinitas is a seaside city with a distinct upmarket, environmentally conscious and laid back vibe. As such, we have embraced the local ‘flavor’ with our franchise in a well-known retail center on Encinitas Boulevard. Our aim is to offer our customers a true one-stop solution for all of their design, printing and promotional requirements. Our staff ensures that every customer is given attentive personal service which has created a familial atmosphere in which we do business. On any given day, you will find a customer with a cup of coffee in his or her hands sitting next to one of our two in-house designers bringing their latest print ideas to life.”
Whether he is in Encinitas or Sorrento Valley, Matthew remains focused on providing personalized customer service and positive client experiences that helps his printing business stand out with his clients. “We have a strong emphasis on supporting local business and we have an ongoing marketing campaign that reads ‘Think Globally, Print Locally.’ Our message to our local community is that we have the capability to provide world-class design, printing and promotional services at reasonable prices in a comfortable, friendly and local atmosphere.”
From South Africa to Southern California
Before joining the modern printing industry, Matthew Rebelo had a very different career in an entirely different country. He explains, “My father Gabriel Rebelo is the owner of the Encinitas business. He purchased the Minuteman Press franchise in 2012 as part of the realization of his dream to immigrate with his wife, Marcia, to Southern California from Johannesburg, South Africa. Gabriel has been involved in the printing industry since leaving school in 1972. He holds qualifications in the printing trade and worked his way up from being a machine-minder at the largest newspaper in South Africa to selling printing machinery for an international company to opening his own printing company in Johannesburg 30 years ago.”
Matthew continues, “In 2016, I joined the business. Prior to this, I ran my own successful practice as a litigation attorney in Johannesburg for 10 years. I brought my legal and corporate experience to the business as well as renewed energy and a focused desire to succeed.”
With Minuteman Press International, the Rebelo family found a franchisor with worldwide brand recognition that they were familiar with from their time in South Africa. Matthew reflects, “As part of the requirements to immigrate to the United States, it was necessary for Gabriel to acquire a business. Of course, this business would be in the industry of his expertise. Gabriel was very familiar with the Minuteman Press brand and setup as there are a number of franchises throughout South Africa and in Johannesburg in particular. Ironically, many of these businesses had been his largest competitors for a number of years while he ran his own business in South Africa. The support and confidence that were shown to Gabriel by Dan Byers and the Regional Office in Southern California were unparalleled in comparison to any other opportunities that he had been offered. It became almost obvious that the opportunity presented by the Minuteman Press Encinitas business was ‘meant to be.’”
When asked about making the successful transition from Johannesburg to Encinitas and now Sorrento Valley, Matthew answers, “In South Africa, we as a family were ‘big fish in a small pond.’ We had spent a lifetime developing friendships and a large support structure. We were well known throughout the community and in business and both Marcia and Gabriel have large families that still reside in Johannesburg. Johannesburg itself is the financial powerhouse of Africa – it is known as ‘the City of Gold’ where money can be made through hard work but it is also a hard, tough place to live in the interior of the country with the closest coastline about a 6-hour drive away.”
“Moving to Encinitas was a complete change in lifestyle. The city itself is a beautiful, laid back coastal city where there is more emphasis on health and well-being than making money. Moving here meant the Rebelo family no longer had established roots in the community and we had to rebuild our name from scratch. Thankfully, this was not difficult to do in the wonderfully supportive and accepting community that makes up Encinitas. Today, and largely through Minuteman Press Encinitas, the Rebelo family have become well-known socially and in the business community within Encinitas and the surrounding cities of North County San Diego.”
Matthew sums up his family’s journey to American entrepreneurship, saying, “The experience of moving across the world to start a new life has taught every member of the Rebelo family so much. In business and in life, it has meant relearning how to be patient and how to reach out to new people and discover new places so that strangers quickly become friends and unknown names on maps quickly become favorite places to visit.”
Growing the Family Business
When the Rebelo family purchased an established Minuteman Press franchise for sale, they saw the growth potential that their printing business had. Matthew states, “Gabriel’s experience in the printing industry saw an immediate growth in the business upon its acquisition. His helpful and caring attitude brought many ex-customers back to the business and gained the confidence of new customers in the community.”
For his part, Matthew joining Minuteman Press Encinitas also helped spur printing franchise growth. His father Gabriel Rebelo sings Matthew’s praises, saying, “Since joining the business nearly two years ago, Matthew has implemented a number of growth strategies in terms of which the business has acquired an influx of new, larger customers and an increase in services being offered to existing customers. This has resulted in the monthly average gross revenue and profits more than doubling in a very short space of time. This has been achieved through a combination of going back to the basics of the Minuteman Press marketing and operational strategies inside the office and in the field as well as constant networking and marketing formally within organizations and clubs and informally within various social circles.”
Matthew reaffirms his family’s commitment to building the business and being involved in the community: “We are integrally involved in our community. In order to have a successful business, whether it’s Encinitas, Sorrento Valley or anywhere else, I believe you have to be actively engaged. The Encinitas community is small and the community leaders, in both business and politics, are part and parcel of the community they serve. We are members of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce and the largest business network in the county – the BNI Wave of Success chapter, of which I have recently served as president.”
He adds, “Through our efforts, we have become known as THE community printer. In fact, a large part of our marketing has been based on the ‘Print Locally’ campaign that we launched in 2016. We print for the surrounding schools, churches and non-profit organizations. We also print and produce all of the signage for the two large long distance running events: The Encinitas Half Marathon; The Surfing Madonna Beach Run; and many of the events hosted at the well-known Del Mar Racetrack.”
As for the ongoing franchise support they receive from their franchisor Minuteman Press International, the Rebelo family couldn’t be more pleased with Minuteman Press’ guidance both on the ground locally and through their corporate support teams. Matthew says, “The ongoing support received from both the Minuteman Press International Home Office and regionally has helped on various levels and comes from a variety of sources. I believe one of the biggest assets each franchisee has is the ability to use Minuteman Press proprietary FLEX management software. The tech support received from Home Office relating to the software has been excellent. Their amazing team has assisted us when the need has arisen to ensure that we are not only able to utilize all of the features of the software but are able to use them to maximize business efficiency.”
“On the ground, the ever-present and ever-willing helping hands of Regional Vice President Dan Byers and Area Manager Steve Szymanski have provided us with a sense of comfort knowing that we are not alone in our journey of building a successful business. We have genuinely enjoyed working with them and I think the fact that the experience has a feeling of partnership says a lot about their commitment to ensure that we are making the most of our opportunities in the industry.”
Typical Day & Most Rewarding Thing
What is a typical day like for Matthew Rebelo? He answers, “A typical day in our lives as owners of the business includes: Coffee; a workout; opening the shop; planning the day as best as possible; returning emails relating to quotes and production requests from potential and existing clients; a chat with the production manager; rearranging the plans for the day; and then a combination of dealing with client orders and queries, management of supplier and vendor issues, following up on unordered quotations, and marketing to potential and existing clients.” He adds, “We also have other goals we are looking towards. We want to increase in-house finishing and digital production capabilities. We also want to reach the next gross sales milestone and to consistently reach that milestone every month after that.”
With both the family business in Encinitas and now his second Minuteman Press franchise that he co-owns in Sorrento Valley with business partner Shaun Peebles, Matthew finds great rewards in being his own boss. He shares, “The most rewarding thing about owning your own business is that the ‘buck stops with you.’ What you achieve is the result of what you put into your business. Although your responsibilities are great and often you work much harder than any of your employees, your time and your schedule are yours.”
Matthew also has some words of advice for aspiring franchise business owners: “My advice is first and foremost, be willing to learn the marketing and operational franchise system and to put it into practice. There are people available who know how to make a business like yours work and they are willing to tell you how to do it. Just be receptive and humble enough to listen.”
He thoughtfully concludes, “I would say that there is simply no substitute for focused and disciplined effort. Come up with a plan, be decisive about it and then be willing to work in a structured and disciplined way to see the plan through.”
Gabriel, Marcia Rebelo, and Matthew Rebelo’s Minuteman Press franchise is located at
1538 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information, call 760-634-5349 or visit their website: www.mmpencinitas.com
Matthew Rebelo and Shaun Peebles’ Minuteman Press franchise is located at 10951 Sorrento Valley Rd., Ste 1-F, Sorrento Valley, CA 92121. For more information, call 858-455-6408 or visit their website: www.sorrentovalley.minutemanpress.com
About Minuteman Press International
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 26 times and 15 years in a row, including 2018. Franchise Business Review has also named Minuteman Press International to its 2018 Top Franchises and 2017 Top B2B Franchises 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.