How one center became a dual-branded, Allegra Marketing · Print · Mail and Image360 operation
Trained as a chemical engineer, Steve Kapuscinski spent 20 years in the paper industry in production and management before looking to start his own business in 2004.
“I considered purchasing an independent business but, with no sale experience, the feeling just wasn’t right,” said Steve. “I realized that gaining the support of a franchise network would be the best way for me to go.”
But of the countless franchisors with businesses in hundreds of different industries, which opportunity held the most promise? Through interest and personality testing conducted with the help a business broker, Steve narrowed his choices to a printing business.
Beginning with an Allegra Center
“I evaluated the top print franchise operations, but it was the professionalism I encountered at my Allegra Discovery Day that swayed my decision, said Steve. “My mind made up, I purchased a printing business in Cincinnati and, with the Network’s help, converted it to an Allegra.”
He was among the first beneficiaries of the Allegra MatchMaker® Program. With the Network’s help, entrepreneurs can buy an independent printer, rebrand it as an Allegra Center, and “hit the ground running” with a carry-over staff and ready-made book of business.
“While printing remains our primary source of business, we’re also focusing on mailing services,” said Steve. “There’s a strong demand for it. Margins are good. And, mailing orders inherently contain printing. So, winning a mailing job also wins the printing business.”
As for support from the Home Office, Steve cites the Training Team for their help in evaluating outside sales candidates. He also praises the Marketing Team for the sales leads they drive his way through Home Office-administered pay-per-click advertising initiatives, among others.
Adding an Image360 Business
In 2016, a Signs Now Center near Steve’s Allegra operation in Cincinnati was about to go on the market. Tipped to the impending sale by the Home Office, he considered building on the success he was now enjoying by acquiring the signage provider. Like Allegra, it was part of a network operated by Alliance Franchise Brands.
In November 2016, Steve completed the acquisition of the Signs Now Center and, after alerting clients to the new ownership, rebranded the operation as an Image360 in March 2017 because of its broader service offering. Both businesses now occupy the same space with, of course, individual branding.
“There was certainly a learning curve in understanding the cash flow and pricing particular to signage and graphics,” said Steve. “But, with the dual-branded operation, we’re enjoying some distinct advantages.”
He praised the many opportunities for cross-selling as the primary benefit.
“I’m now able to promote the graphics and signage of my Image360 Center to the marketing, print and mail customers of my Allegra Center — and vice-versa,” said Steve. “It’s proving to be a great combination.”