Conway Wong owns and operates the Minuteman Press franchise in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, giving meticulous care to marketing for clients such as CORE Medical and Wellness.
He may not have recognized it when he was working his heart out for his parents’ Chinese restaurant at 10 years old but today Conway Wong says proudly, “Entrepreneurship is a spirit.” He makes that statement from his Minuteman Press center in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, a franchise agreement he signed after hitting admirable strides in many careers and he still has youthful vigor and now an industry leader on his side. “I may not have liked it at first, but staffing is a hard thing in the restaurant industry and I was needed. So, when my parents put me to work as a waiter, a dishwasher or a cook at such a young age, it gave me a work ethic. Today, I live and work using my parents’ ideals, so anything we can do to make our customers happy is what gets done.”
Conway graduated from Pace University and lent his talent as a computer programmer for Deutsche Bank for about 15 years during which time his home-grown determination blended with the methodical and organized discipline for which top programmers are famous. He says, “Being a programmer instilled in me a job well-done, top-down way of thinking. I analyze the flow of things and look to make them flow more easily.”
After the 9/11 tragedy in NYC, Conway realized that changing careers entirely would work with the flow of his practical objectives and overall peace in life. He flipped houses and did much of the construction himself, a skill he adopted from his frugal and quick-to-learn father who fixed everything himself at their restaurant with his young son as an apprentice handyman. It fulfilled his immediate need to move away from the city and it paid the bills, but when it took its toll physically, Conway took to analysis again and this time, a long-term, entirely new business opportunity would become his focal point.
“One day, after years of buying and flipping houses to either rent or sell them, I was tiling floors and it was hard for me to get up. It is a very demanding job physically and it is expensive for that reason also. My work was too hard on my body, spending the whole day on my hands and knees and lifting mortar, gravel and tile.” Plus, working with a wet saw added to his discomfort and Conway decided the answer to how long he could last in that work was perhaps five years. He knew he had far more to give to his family and to the people who trusted him professionally, perhaps in yet an entirely new field.
“I would have been done and unable to continue flipping houses after just a few more years, so I spoke with my wife and told her that we have to find something consistent, something that would benefit a lot of people, too.” He went to a trade show in New Jersey where he met Jim Galasso, Regional Vice President for Minuteman Press International.
There was something about the digital print, design and marketing franchise leader that struck him as extraordinary. “Every other booth I visited before made me feel like they were JUST selling me something, but not Minuteman Press International. When I talked to Jimmy, I felt like everyone knew and felt at home with one another within the organization, like family. It was different, in a good way, from all the rest and I was interested in printing. Printing is universal. We have the internet, always, but things still must be printed.”
Conway looked to the restaurant industry that raised him as a businessman and realized that menus, napkins, signage banners were absolutely needed and that unlike being a restaurateur, buying a printing business would position him to contribute to people’s lives with less waste. “The paper doesn’t go bad, but if I do not sell my steaks, they do not last, naturally. Waste in the restaurant business is huge because you can rarely predict what is actually needed and I always think freezing negatively affects taste, so I did not want to go there. Printing is so much better. It is not as wasteful and everyone needs it. We take care of our humidity levels here in the shop so since I took over this existing print shop, I realize that there may be paper products here from the original owner that we will use.”
Good taste is what his clients have in store when they receive finished products today at Minuteman Press in Ho-Ho-Kus as Conway takes the 15 year-established center into the contemporary age of marketing. He uses the latest in print technology, his intention to honor every job and the lasting support from his franchisor, as needed. “I believe in the system and appreciate the support from Minuteman Press corporate. I call Kyle Barker (Field Representative) whenever I have a problem and he will have a solution or ways to get to one.
Conway’s appreciation for his franchisor is prevalent in his reflection about his decision to buy a printing business. “This company has an “I got your back” mentality and that is so important because I grew up in a different industry entirely. My stress is reduced because Jim Galasso and Kyle, as local support, are like family to me and we talk “straight” to each other. When Jim comes in as Regional Vice President, I know he’s examining my books but he’s also seeing how I am doing and gives me a perspective that’s hard for me to get without him because I am IN it.” That his local representatives can give him a “bird’s eye” view of his progress and potential results in advice that he can apply with confidence. “Most of the people in this corporation have been here for many years and there’s this mesh, this caring about their franchisees.” Thinking about the home office, he adds, “I met Mike Jutt (Executive Vice President) only twice, but when I talk to him, I feel like he genuinely cares about me and how we are doing. With thousands of names to remember, that’s amazing and it says a lot.”
CORE Medical & Wellness knows Minuteman Press has its back as they lead the movement to make healthcare more integrated and accessible.Much like their partner in printing, design and marketing, CORE Medical & Wellness tends to their clients’ needs while keeping a meaningful focus on them as “people, not patients”. It is fitting that Conway gets them what they need and gets them out of unexpected “jams” with a similar approach. “The doctors and staff take care of whole wellness, though the concept to buy a building and begin this practice started with a physician who specializes in pain management. Today, they take care of a range of ailments and even have surgical facilities on premises as needed. They are truly making a real difference for patients. We are doing a lot of branding and a lot of promotional products to help them spread the good word to our community. We do a lot of brochures, business cards, design, signs and flyers. We are printing like crazy for them and we have a great working relationship with them.”
Minuteman Press is there when trouble with other marketing services providers threatens their intention to connect and Conway remembers one time his intervention saved a promotional event. “They were doing a bridal expo and hired an outside marketing company to do extra marketing and design as we do not do ALL of their design. So, the firm they hired sent me a request to print 24 x 36 posters, but I called CORE and spoke to my contact there, Ravely, and it turns out they wanted more of a foamcore material (sturdy). It’s a good thing I called because what was ordered would not have worked for their set-up. That marketing firm didn’t plan on a few things, but we made sure they got proper signs and we loaned them our easel, too. I was looking out for them and I always will,” he adds.
Ravely Reddy is the Director of Marketing/Project Manager for CORE and has a few thoughts of praise for all that her local Minuteman Press does to make life easier and more successful for them. “Conway’s products and services are outstanding! We couldn’t ask for more. He is so diligent with his work and goes above and beyond to meet our creative goals and requirements. He is always there to answer all of our questions, and the best part about him is that he is so honest and trustworthy. Conway and his team provide excellent customer service; I will recommend Minuteman Press to anyone I know who might need printing services since I am certain Conway will do an excellent job for them.
As Minuteman Press looks out for me, I look out for my clients. I will ask about their objectives and give them paper samples so they can feel it and understand. How can you know what Linen paper feels like without holding it? I make sure they know so we can do the best job. – Conway Wong
Ravely is able to confirm every healthy objective about customer service Conway set for his new venture when she talks about their future: “Core Medical & Wellness will certainly do business with Conway! Every time we have a project in mind, we always think of Minuteman Press in Ho-Ho-Kus. I don’t know what we will do without their great work and superior customer service.”
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