In 2023, Minuteman Press International proudly commemorates its golden jubilee, marking fifty years of thriving business since its inception in 1973. The inaugural Minuteman Press center, located in Plainview, NY, emerged from the visionary minds of Roy Titus, the founder of Minuteman Press, and his son Bob Titus. Their decision to establish this printing enterprise stemmed from their successful venture with Parent’s Magazine, where Roy, during collaborations with other printers, recognized the vast untapped potential within the printing industry.
In its nascent stages, the Plainview shop, established in 1973, primarily operated as a swift printing facility, specializing in 1-color, short-run orders that demanded rapid turnaround times. This initial foray laid the groundwork for what would evolve into the first one-stop Minuteman Press center, seamlessly integrating design, marketing, and printing services under one roof.
As the enterprise burgeoned, so did its range of products and capabilities. Over the ensuing five decades, Minuteman Press has consistently stood at the forefront of the printing industry, distinguishing itself as a beacon of innovation and leadership.
The journey embarked from that inaugural Plainview shop in 1973, where Roy Titus, alongside his son Bob and childhood friends Jim Galasso and Dave Scadin, sowed the seeds for the global franchisor that Minuteman Press International has become today.
Bob Titus, the enduring CEO, reflects on the challenges, triumphs, and memories of laying the foundation in 1973, underscoring the enduring legacy and transformative journey of Minuteman Press over the past fifty years.
Bob Titus and Jim Galasso at the Minuteman Press Plainview shop in 1973.
Working in the Plainview shop in 1973 was a collaborative effort driven by camaraderie and shared history. Bob Titus and Jimmy Galasso initially managed the shop, later joined by Dave Scadin, all of whom had known each other since childhood. This tight-knit team dynamic was a cornerstone of the shop’s success.
Bob’s return from college prompted the establishment of the team, with Jimmy transitioning from a role in a sporting goods store to join the venture. Dave, initially responsible for deliveries, quickly proved his mechanical prowess by fixing a broken press, subsequently becoming the dedicated press operator.
The team’s origins and collaborative spirit extended beyond its core members, as over the years, numerous individuals from Oyster Bay High School and St. Dominic’s High School contributed to the shop’s success. This network grew organically from the foundation laid by childhood friends, expanding into a remarkable journey.
Working with Roy Titus, the founder and father of Bob, was marked by a shared commitment to innovation. Although not directly involved in day-to-day operations, Roy contributed valuable ideas, initiating key strategies such as marketing programs and offering pickup and delivery services to enhance customer convenience.
Bob’s journey into running the shop began with his father hiring an experienced printer, Tom, who mentored both Bob and Jimmy in press operations and bindery work. Roy’s vision, sparked by a real estate customer’s request for printed and delivered flyers, led to the introduction of delivery services and a proactive approach to customer outreach.
The decision to embrace door-to-door marketing, even in the face of larger commercial printers focusing on home run clients, set Minuteman Press on a unique trajectory. Bob vividly recalls the initial retail area canvassing, which proved instrumental in acquiring new business.
The growth continued with technological advancements, as the Plainview shop transitioned from an AB Dick one-color press to an upgraded Multi-Graphic Press. The introduction of a 3M camera at the second Farmingdale store marked a pivotal moment, allowing for two-color printing with plastic plates and setting the stage for the franchise model.
The success in Farmingdale led to the creation of a training program, spearheaded by Mike Jutt, who played a crucial role in Minuteman Press’s evolution. The endorsement of the franchise concept by 3M, coupled with their financial support and belief in the business model, facilitated expansion beyond the Tri-State Area.
As the franchise model gained traction, the decision was made to divest the original company-owned stores and focus on supporting new owners. This shift paved the way for the establishment of local support teams, formed by experienced personnel in key roles.
The innovative use of 3M cameras, coupled with the franchise model, not only propelled Minuteman Press into profitability but also laid the groundwork for regional support teams. The company’s journey from a single shop in Plainview to a successful international franchisor is a testament to the vision, teamwork, and adaptability that have defined its fifty-year history.
The Minuteman Press Plainview and Farmingdale van in the 1970s.
Over the years, Minuteman Press has undergone significant evolution and embraced key changes to stay at the forefront of the printing industry. Bob Titus, reflecting on the company’s journey, highlighted some pivotal transformations:
- Introduction of Royalty Cap (1977-78): A groundbreaking move occurred when Roy Titus introduced the royalty cap to Minuteman Press owners. Initially met with skepticism, this innovation incentivized owners to excel in sales. The cap encouraged owners to act as if they were paying full royalties, prompting increased sales and allowing them to reinvest in their businesses. This strategic decision became a driving force for owners to surpass previous revenue thresholds.
- Transition from Manual Price Lists to Pricing Software: In the early days, Minuteman Press utilized manual price lists for 1-color printing on various paper sizes and quantities. Recognizing the need for efficiency and scalability, the company developed pricing software. The initial software, hosted on a Tandy 1000 from Radio Shack, laid the foundation for the sophisticated FLEX pricing and management software in use today. This transition streamlined pricing processes and enhanced overall operational efficiency.
- Adaptation to Technological Advancements: The advent of copiers in the 1970s presented a potential threat to traditional printers. Contrary to predictions, Minuteman Press embraced technology, acquiring Xerox machines and subsequently forming strategic partnerships with Xerox and Konica-Minolta. These partnerships not only dispelled concerns about obsolescence but also contributed significantly to the company’s growth, aligning it with cutting-edge printing solutions.
- Expansion of Product and Service Offerings: Minuteman Press consistently expanded its product and service portfolio based on market demand and the needs of its owners. The addition of apparel and promotional products, for instance, was a natural progression in response to customer demands. The company’s ability to identify emerging trends and integrate new offerings into its repertoire has been a key factor in maintaining relevance and meeting diverse customer needs.
- Diversification into New Printing Technologies: As the printing landscape evolved, Minuteman Press successfully navigated the shift towards digital printing, wide-format printing, and direct mail/Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). The company’s embrace of these technologies reflected a commitment to staying abreast of industry trends and adopting tools that enhanced the quality and variety of services provided to customers.
Minuteman Press’s journey is characterized by a proactive approach to change, innovation in business models, and strategic alliances. These adaptations have not only propelled the company’s growth but also positioned it as a leader in the dynamic and ever-evolving printing industry.
Fifty years later, a look at today’s Minuteman Press lobby.
Bob Titus reflects on the remarkable fifty-year journey of Minuteman Press, emphasizing key milestones and his family’s integral role in the company’s evolution:
- Leadership Transition: Bob’s father, Roy Titus, served as the president of Minuteman Press for the initial two decades, overseeing a period of robust growth marked by the establishment of numerous franchise locations. In the subsequent twenty-five years, Bob assumed the role of president, steering the company through further expansions, including venturing into international markets such as Canada, the UK, Australia, and South Africa.
- International Expansion: The company’s growth extended beyond the borders of the United States, with successful ventures into Canada and later into global markets. Bob himself played a hands-on role, managing the Toronto office for two years during the expansion into Canada. The subsequent international expansions underscored Minuteman Press’s ability to adapt and thrive in diverse business landscapes.
- Legacy of Service Improvement: Bob’s tenure as president focused on refining existing services and strategically adding offerings that maximized benefits for franchise owners. The company consistently conducted studies to identify industry trends and proactively implemented changes to stay ahead. The commitment to understanding and meeting the needs of franchise owners has been a hallmark of Minuteman Press’s approach to service enhancement.
- Generational Transition: In a significant move, Bob’s son, Nick Titus, assumed the role of president over three years ago. This transition occurred just months before the onset of the pandemic, highlighting the foresight in elevating Nick to a leadership position. Bob acknowledges the resilience and dedication demonstrated by Nick and the entire team during the challenging times of the pandemic, emphasizing the capable hands guiding the company’s future.
- Owner Relationships and Family Dynamics: Bob expresses a deep sense of gratitude towards long-time owners who played pivotal roles in building the company. He also cherishes the familial aspect of Minuteman Press, considering every owner as part of an extended family. The satisfaction derived from witnessing businesses successfully transition from one generation to the next adds a personal and fulfilling dimension to the company’s legacy.
- Collective Journey and Enduring Spirit: Bob encapsulates the fifty-year journey as an “incredible ride,” highlighting the collective efforts, adaptability, and enduring spirit that have characterized Minuteman Press’s evolution. The emphasis on unity, collaboration, and a shared commitment to success permeates his reflections on the company’s enduring legacy.
In conclusion, Bob Titus’s reflections provide a comprehensive overview of Minuteman Press’s growth, adaptability, and the principles that have guided its success over five decades.