Steve and Laurel Moore went into business together 28 years ago. Steve continues to run Minuteman Press in Bakersfield, California and carry on his wife's legacy.

Minuteman Press in Bakersfield, CA Leads the Modern Printing Industry with an Old West Photo Discovery

Steve Moore is a veteran marketing services provider. He also has what is commonly referred to as a “heart of gold” and when buying a junk car as a favor, Steve made a historic discovery.

Twenty-eight years of franchise ownership does not look the same for every entrepreneur.  For Steve Moore, the 28th year of entrepreneurship was marked in April 2018 with bittersweet pride and tenderness. His late wife, Laurel was the original commander of their Minuteman Press center in Bakersfield, CA while he remained dedicated to his ministry.  It was Laurel who was previously an office manager for the Herald Examiner in L.A., which ended publication and laid off many people. She decided the possibility of future layoffs were to be eliminated because she was going to buy a franchise and her research convinced her it was the smartest way to make a living for her family.

Laurel sought and found a Minuteman Press franchise for sale that would allow her to enjoy weeknights and weekends with Steve and their children.  “It was a 5 year-old business with unmet potential when my wife bought it and she turned the operation into a success over 18 years. I decided to retire after 30 years as a minister and join her efforts.” The couple developed deep loyalty and respect for their marketing services center and when Laurel passed away in 2016, Steve carried her spirit into his turn as sole commander of their venture and good things are happening in Bakersfield Minuteman Press.

“When Laurel returned from corporate training, she needed to start from scratch with new staff and she invested herself into the work of creating a client base.  In spite of chemotherapy, she did this every day and it paid off well.  The advantage of my salary at the time was that she could defer taking a salary herself, not because she couldn’t, but because she saw it would be smart to invest in equipment instead.  Today, as we are 100 miles north of L.A. and there are very few printing trade people here, we are largely self-sufficient as a result.  Laurel was very shrewd, but open and friendly. The customers loved her.”  Steve joined his wife by filling roles within the center as needed and its development became a joy for both of them.  Today, it is a legacy he continues with the flexibility to add and train staff so he can adjust his hours to fit his preferences, rather than retire.

Steve and his staff in Bakersfield are well-versed in contemporary marketing strategies and the ongoing endeavor of all Minuteman Press franchise owners is to build business together in partnership with their clients.  One of the thrills afforded to them is being able to say, ‘We Are the Modern Printing Industry’.  The brand is renowned for excellence enough that for many, it is the only place to go when something truly important, even priceless, needs attention.

What’s up “Doc”? A local Bakersfield man buys a junk car with a few valuable print surprises inside and Minuteman Press played a trusted role in his good fortune.

A gentleman with a good heart and an affinity for auto-restoration was approached one day by a guy who wished to unload an old car brimming with junk of all sorts.  It was a purchase he made to give the seller a break, one that cost him a few hundred dollars.  What he discovered during the tedium of cleaning out the old vehicle would lead him to walk into Minuteman Press Bakersfield for help with a delicate, but valuable and unique job.

Steve explains, “This client managed a variety of businesses, including upholstery with autos, so a guy showed up with an El Camino and sold it to him for a small amount of money.  He really did it to help the guy because the car was in awful condition and the bed and seat were stacked with stuff he needed to purge. As he was cleaning it out he came across a few tintypes which is the result of the method of photography used in the 1800s. The photos were printed on tin, thus tintype. Since his wife enjoyed antique stuff, he rounded them up and put them on display in his family room for years.”

Then, someone visited and said something that would change their lives.  “Hey, where did you get this photo of Doc Holiday?”  The gentleman upholster had no idea he was sitting on a historical goldmine.  His friend continued, “I am not positive, but that looks like Doc Holiday and we can confirm this if you want.”  The man was a registered historian who confirmed through a company using facial recognition software and compared it to authenticated photos of Doc Holiday.  As Steve recalls, “It came out as a 98% match, so it was authentic.”

What makes this historic find particularly unique is not just that it was a tin-type of Doc Holiday, but also the only known photo that depicts him in his original profession, a dentist.

The rare "Doc" Holliday photo that made its way to Minuteman Press in Bakersfield, CA.

The rare “Doc” Holliday photo that made its way to Minuteman Press in Bakersfield, CA.

When the shock wore off, he saw to the production of a limited-edition number of the photographs, 100 in a large size and 1000 smaller prints on high-end photographic paper.  “He came into the shop and talked to Laurel, explaining that he was stretched financially. He asked if she wanted to buy one of the limited edition prints of Doc Holiday at a discounted price (for hundreds, rather than thousands of dollars).” Laurel and Steve bought the historical print and Minuteman Press was entrusted to produce printed certificates of authentication for the rest of his photographic treasure.

“We provided him with the certificates of authentication and we also laid-out and provided printed postcards that were sent to Tombstone for tourists to purchase.  One of the other tin types had incredible value and is held as top-secret and due to legalities, all I can say is that it depicts a famous historical event,” according to Steve.

The working lives of veteran Minuteman Press franchise owners are as diverse as the projects that come their way, and that is part of the charm of their profession.  Every day consists of partnership towards growth and surprises come, too.  In this case, Steve Moore helped make history.

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