Ed Casagrande and his family moved to the US from Brazil in 2017 to pursue the American Dream of owning a business. He has not let the COVID-19 pandemic slow him down and Ed shares his insights on growing his Minuteman Press franchise in Lutz, FL.
For four years, Minuteman Press franchise owner Ed Casagrande has been building relationships and helping local businesses with their printing and marketing needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Minuteman Press in Lutz, FL was designated as an essential business. Ed and his team have continued to reach out to their clients and community with one simple yet powerful message: “We are all in this together.”
The results of Ed’s genuine outreach efforts are a satisfied client base and increased sales. He says, “We are posting record monthly sales in March 2021, and I am thankful for that. Our sales for the month are more than the annual revenue of the previous owner of the business in 2016. To do this during the pandemic makes me even more excited for the future as we continue to work hard on behalf of our community and our customers.”
Supporting Local Businesses
Ed elaborates, “Since the beginning, we have focused on developing strong relationships with many businesses and organizations within our local community. The pandemic has, in many ways, brought us closer together with our customers. There has been an overwhelming sense that we are all in this together, and by helping to support each other through the struggle, we have been able to keep growing.”
Just by reaching out to local businesses, Ed has found a renewed sense of camaraderie with his fellow business owners. “The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. If there has been one thing that has been highlighted during this difficult time, it would be the resilience of the community. Many of our customers print with us on a regular basis, and we have gotten the opportunity to know them and their businesses. When they come into our shop, they share their stories of struggle and success, and we are there to support them through all of it.”
He adds, “We know the challenges of trying to grow a business even without the added stress of a worldwide pandemic, and we want to offer solutions that can help businesses take that growth to another level. With that in mind, we take the approach of thinking like the general consumer, and finding print solutions that will help reach the desired audience.”
Print Is Essential
The best businesses are the ones who quickly identify the needs of their clients and do everything they can to meet those demands. That is exactly what Minuteman Press has done over the past year. Ed recalls, “Early on during the pandemic, we identified the businesses that most needed our services and made the effort to help with their printing needs. The food industry saw a massive increase in demand so we targeted that market – printing labels for food distributors, to-go menus for restaurants, and yard signs and banners promoting social distancing. The need for marketing materials promoting social distancing applied to other industries as well, and we were able to meet those needs with signs, banners, window clings, and floor stickers.”
Another challenge for local businesses came in the form of adapting their marketing methods. With trade shows and other events cancelled or postponed, businesses turned to Minuteman Press for help in adapting and diversifying their marketing strategies.
Ed explains, “We focused our efforts on areas of the business with the widest margin of return. We had to get creative in finding ways to best serve the needs of our customers, many of whom have also had to completely transform their approach to marketing in a world without trade shows and other traditional marketing methods. This has allowed us the opportunity to continue to grow, despite the challenges facing our local economy. At the core of this growth is the relationships we have built with our customers. The importance of developing strong relationships with local businesses and taking care to provide a quality customer experience with every interaction cannot be stressed enough. It is the key to our success.”
By strengthening those relationships, Ed is now poised to help his clients with the anticipated local economic recovery. “We have already begun to see an increase in sales which indicates that the local economy is starting to fire back up. We have taken great care to listen to the needs of our customers and provide options for them that will best help them recover from the pandemic. We have also begun the process of restructuring our team to identify and capitalize on the strengths of each individual team member. We are investing in new equipment so that we can increase our production and profit margins, offer better and faster print solutions to our customers, and stay competitive in the marketplace.”
He continues, “We are in the process of expanding to a new larger location which will allow us to grow even more. We have also implemented a marketing outreach project to touch base with customers who haven’t been printing as much since the pandemic started, in an effort to see if we can be of any help to them. This effort has translated into an increase of sales and is helping us get back on track to our pre-pandemic rate of growth.”
“For years, the printing industry has been the backbone of marketing for organizations across the world. As technology has advanced and as the world has moved online, the ways that businesses and organizations have been able to reach out and market to their customers has evolved. But the foundation of marketing has always been in print media. In many ways, the pandemic brought things back-to-the-basics for many of our customers. We have seen many of our customers go back to the tried-and-true methods of marketing, including postcard printing for direct mail and EDDM mailing campaigns, flyer/brochure printing, and yard and car sign/banner printing. From what we have seen, the market trends indicate that the printing industry will continue to thrive and we are looking forward to continuing our growth as the economy recovers from the pandemic.” -Ed Casagrande, owner, Minuteman Press franchise, Lutz, FL
From Being Laid Off in Brazil to US Business Ownership in Lutz, FL
One of the reasons Ed has been able to adapt and grow his business during this unprecedented time is because of his ability to adapt and refocus. In fact, he has pivoted before. “I was born in Brazil and my professional background is in Engineering. Before moving to the US, I was involved in a large organization and was responsible for the entire South American region, with a team of 3,000 employees under my supervision. In 2015, the economy in Brazil went through a dramatic downturn, and I was laid off. My wife and I made the decision to move to the United States with our two children, and we began looking to purchase a business.”
Ed continues, “At first, we looked at many options – from gas stations to dry cleaners and everything in between. I found an opportunity to purchase an existing franchise of Minuteman Press, and although I had no previous experience in the printing industry, I was drawn to the Business-to-Business concept that Minuteman Press offered. I am passionate about business and through my experience, I have a deep understanding of the inner workings of growing a business. Minuteman Press allowed me to turn that passion into an opportunity to help other businesses grow through various marketing concepts that we are able to help them achieve, which in turn has helped me grow my own business as well.”
Ed credits the ongoing support of Minuteman Press both before and during the pandemic for helping him build his business. He says, “Minuteman Press International has always been a huge support to us, and they took great care to help provide the support we needed during the pandemic. We are so appreciative of the efforts they have made to ensure that the safety of our employees and customers is a top priority, and for providing us with the resources necessary to remain successful despite the challenges facing us.”
“Ed Casagrande has done a tremendous job putting in the work to build his Minuteman Press franchise in Lutz. I am proud of the way he has reached out to others, promoted his relevant products and services, and provided an uplifting message as well as a positive customer experience for his clients at this critical time. I look forward to supporting Ed as he continues to build his business.” -Larry Trimble, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President, Florida
Rewards & Advice for Others
As a business owner, Ed sees many rewards to being his own boss. He says, “The biggest benefit to owning my own business is that there is virtually no limit to the amount of success that I can achieve, except if I limit myself. When I worked for someone else, there was always a limit to the compensation I received or to the growth that I was able to experience, regardless of the effort I put into it. Owning my own business removes that glass ceiling and allows me to pursue limitless success.”
When asked what advice he would give to other local business owners right now, Ed answers, “The best advice that I can give other local businesses is that networking and customer care is vital to the success of a business. A large part of the effort that I have made since becoming a franchise owner of Minuteman Press is through networking with other small business owners in the local community. Through these efforts, I have developed some incredible working relationships with members of the community and I have learned so much along the way.”
Ed concludes, “We have all heard it said that there is strength in numbers. The pandemic has demonstrated this to be true, because we have all relied on each other to get through it.”
For more information on Ed Casagrande’s Minuteman Press franchise in Lutz, FL, visit https://www.lutz-fl.minutemanpress.com. Learn more about #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at https://minutemanpressfranchise.com.