Devoted to the entire customer experience, LouAnn and Jeff Grim continue to make strong client connections with the power of the printing industry’s most respected brand.
When you need help from LouAnn and Jeff Grim at Minuteman Press in Ocean City, you are treated to a palate of solutions and an alliance that will never fail you. They are immediately invested when you trust them and they prove it with each finished project; often a blend of artistry and print expertise that knows no match as far as your target audience is concerned. Entrepreneurs such as these are not common. The chance to buy a printing business was thrust upon them while LouAnn was the loyal manager of the center and it went up for sale. Most in the workforce would panic or job hunt, but she has spirit and it is not snuffed out by the unforeseen.
Instead, sparked by the news of the possibility of a new owner and a major shakeup, LouAnn hesitated only to pick up the phone and claim the digital print, design and marketing center she managed for four years as her own. It would become a family venture that she would run with her husband that would make going to work profoundly different, transforming her from manager to boss. “I didn’t wait. I picked up the phone and said I wanted to buy the operation. That was in 2014 and we got a great deal and high quality of service and product is what sells us. This is a very small town, so word of mouth goes a long way,” she says.
Prior to joining his wife at the helm of their marketing services center, Jeff ran a computer services company. His technical knowledge and enthusiasm for software benefited many and he translated his intelligence to his role as franchise owner. “Interestingly, we almost bought a center in Salisbury, but we passed at the time because LouAnn was not yet working for Minuteman Press, but for another printer and I had my doubts I could do it without a partner, especially with her design skills. At the time we purchased our current location, though, my computer software business was still going strong.”
Running a business and living along the east coast of Maryland is not without its challenges, for all of its charm. “I thought I’d continue to manage the center and I was doing a great job when the owner decided to sell. It took a while for it to sink in that I was going to work each day, but as the owner myself. It was scary at first as neither of us have business degrees and we do not have marketing backgrounds, but we do have a lifetime of printing. Paper delivery was a big challenge and we had to work hard to sort that out, due to our location. We want people to come and I think they do because it’s Minuteman Press and they recognize the name, the brand.”
“The best part of owning your own company is controlling quality from beginning to end. When I was a manager, I couldn’t do that. Now, as owner, I can tell a customer that a job will be perfect and mean it,” LouAnn shares. Her affinity for beauty and ability to bring it from her vision to a canvas has translated beautifully for clients needing to communicate messages to target audiences. She knows where her strength lies when she says, “I couldn’t be a salesperson because I am a designer and a printer. Both of us have been in printing since there were light tables and negatives.” Jeff adds, “I was in printing for three years in high school and then went to the Navy and for three years in the Navy I was involved in printing before returning to civilian life.”
Entrepreneurship done the right way takes the kind of bold initiative the Grims show each day, personally accountable for their lives and the successes they create for clients and for themselves. “Quoting jobs and the financial side is a challenge for me because I am a fine artist and a printer, so I use our proprietary software” LouAnn shares. An expert in the field, Jeff interjects, “The software provided by Minuteman Press International is fabulous. I do not work inside the center, but I can tell from my experience and LouAnn using it that a lot has been put into it and there is a lot franchisees can get out of it. I think corporate charges for it, but it is one of their best deals. I know in the commercial world, a business pays thousands a year for software like this.”
Though he has left his own mark as an entrepreneur through his computer services company, Jeff never lost his ability to be intellectually agile and it has served him as a franchise owner. “When I reflect back before this purchase to operating my computer business, I was too soft. In the printing industry, as a leader and owner, the foundation from the schooling of Minuteman Press International did give me a line to follow, a foundation for dealing with my vendors. It made me tougher,” he shares. “Still, I know that sugar tends to go a lot further than salt.”
“I learned that the customer needs to know you can handle their problems and if you act like a leader, they will be drawn to you. My clients come to me for expertise in design, print and marketing and I earn their trust.” – LouAnn Grim
When projects come in with similar timelines and in great quantity, Minuteman Press in Ocean City is counted upon as the only real source on “the island”, according to LouAnn. “We have a gentleman on staff we have known for almost thirty years and he does bindery, cutting, finishing and packing. He is very precise. As far as meeting deadlines when we have a time crunch, we discovered that people in our area are receptive to taking jobs in increments. That is because they know the quality they get is worth it.”
Bob Heimbuch, Regional Vice President for Minuteman Press International is excited for Minuteman Press in Ocean City. He says, “Jeff and LouAnn Grim are known for making excellent decisions. They chose one of the nicest places in the country to live and they chose the best digital print, design and marketing franchises in the world for their entrepreneurial adventure.”
The American Legion has come to appreciate Minuteman Press on every level and for multiple events and affiliated organizations.
When LouAnn was the manager of the center, The American Legion was a regular client and remains so today. They design and print posters for the Wounded Warriors, plus everything that they could possibly need to run events from fundraisers to good-spirited athletic competitions. “We print parking signs, flyers, brochures and so many other things. Plus, so much of what we do for the Legion is tied into our other customers such as the Marine Corps League, The Knights of Columbus and the Worcester County Veterans Memorial which has programs for Veterans Day and Memorial Day. We print personalized stickers with logos and take care of all banners needed. In fact, we printed six distinct banners to represent baseball teams within the American Legion as they play against one another. We also printed 100,000 tickets for a big Jeep giveaway on the boardwalk and all of it is for good causes.”
Perhaps the most charming and certainly substantial undertaking towards promoting the American Legion is the chance LouAnn took to revitalize their quarterly newsletter. “I have a fine arts background, self-taught, and it helps me as I partner with clients every day. I have designed scenes depicting restaurants and hotels on the front pages of a newspaper I worked for in the past. I would go to the scene, take photographs, then go home and paint them and there would be different themes each time such as bike week, car week and even a white marlin for fishing. For The American Legion, I was able to completely revamp it so it is not only easier to read, but pretty. They wound up winning best newsletter for the state,” she says.
Sarge Garlitz has been in the American Legion for fifty-three years and of Jeff and LouAnn’s marketing services at Minuteman Press he says, “Their quality is off the charts excellent. They strive to make everything first class and the finished product is totally outstanding. They also help us because I get a want-list from deployed troops, so they help us load the boxes with things that the troops appreciate, especially those who do not get a lot of mail from family and friends. Jeff is a veteran and LouAnn is a member of the Auxiliary, so when we have fundraisers, they are with us, too, volunteering by collecting items and selling tickets – which they print.”
One of the most special, annual events is held by the Sons of the American Legion and Sarge is happy to say, “Minuteman Press will take care of all the printing and we will be interacting with the Wounded Warriors, their families and probably make about $20,000 towards charity, their fund.”
The artistry and technical capabilities that LouAnn and Jeff imparts to clients has proved invaluable and endeared them to clients such as Sarge and he makes his perception of the partnership clear. “As the District Commander I can say, with 890 members in the American Legion, 350 in the auxiliary, 250 in the Sons of the American Legion, plus 80 or 90 more members through the American Legion riders, we choose to stick with Minuteman Press because of their strong track record. They are the printer for our whole family of veterans and their families.”