Frank Matsumoto is the owner of Minuteman Press located at 18 Technology Drive, Suite 171, in Irvine, California. Matsumoto has owned the business since 2010 and recently achieved record monthly sales. “My growth was sparked by increases in apparel and promotional products sales,” he says. “This made up 60 percent of my business while wide format printing was also a growth driver for us.”
For nearly twelve years, Matsumoto has built his brand by building relationships and following the Minuteman Press franchise business model to market his business. “I personally visit other local businesses to get to know other people, and so they can get to know me,” he says. “It also gives me the chance to see what they are doing in terms of promotional products as behind every counter are items like cups, pens, and t-shirts.
“Everywhere I go, I make sure to wear branded Minuteman Press apparel and I come prepared with our branded product catalogs. It starts with me wearing my own branded apparel and showing them our products, and then it goes—and grows—from there.”
One client that has taken full advantage of Minuteman Press’ printing, apparel, and promotional products capabilities is HI-CHEW. “We started our relationship on a phone call for a rush order of postcards,” says Matsumoto. :I visited with them, introduced myself, and secured the order. At first, we did a run of 25,000 die-cut postcards. This turned into a reorder for 75,000 and then later over 100,000 die-cut postcards featuring HI-CHEW products and coupons.
“Thanks to fulfilling that first order and then building that relationship, the number of items we’ve provided for HI-CHEW has grown considerably over the past four years. At the end of 2021, we did their string backpacks, sunglasses, laminated tote bags, t-shirts, 13,000 hand sanitizers, keychains, and stickers on their specialty buckets. We also provide branded apparel for their employees and for customer giveaways.”
Matsumoto feels that there is really no way to replace the “touch and feel” of a promotional item or printed piece. “It is simply good business to use print as a marketing tool to reach your target audience and help increase brand awareness as well as ROI,” he says.
Over the past two years, Minuteman Press in Irvine has remained open and operating throughout the pandemic as an essential business. During that time, Matsumoto ramped up his marketing across all channels. “We used mailers, built up our social media, and solidified our presence by generating positive Google reviews,” he says. “We have earned a 5-star rating with nearly 100 reviews, and we are proud to receive such amazing customer feedback.”
Today, as more business events return to Irvine, Matsumoto has seen an uptick in tradeshow supplies. Frank says, “Orders for trade shows can include everything from booth displays, banners, and table throws to apparel and promotional products. For all of these items, Minuteman Press is here to help.“
Prior to franchising with Minuteman Press, Matsumoto worked in sales. “I was looking at several franchises and did my due diligence,” he says. “I really liked the structure of Minuteman Press, as well as the B2B nature of the business. I didn’t want to rely on walk-ins like a general retail store, and I love the Monday-Friday business hours.
“It gives me the freedom and flexibility to do things like pick up my daughter from school and take her to her fencing class while still being able to build my business.”
Matsumoto appreciates the ongoing local support he’s received from Minuteman Press since buying the business. “Whenever I need something, Dan Byers and the regional team are here to help me. I also like the FLEX software we use to manage all of the different aspects of the business,” he says.
When asked what the biggest lesson he’s learned over the past twelve years as a business owner, Matsumoto answers, “What comes to mind is one of the first things that was taught during the Minuteman Press training program. There was a sign that said, ‘If you don’t market, you won’t make it.’
“Over the years, and especially over the past two years, I can say that marketing has been huge for our sustained growth and success.”
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