For Minuteman Press franchise owner Rustum Fataar, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented both unique challenges and opportunities for his family business.
“At first, my largest concern was the well-being of my staff,” says Rustum, who owns two Minuteman Press printing and marketing centres in Kitchener and Cambridge, Ont.
Even before he knew the Canadian government would provide incentives to retain employees, Rustum’s caring spirit led him to his first action. He protected jobs first and foremost.
“We rode it out and stayed open because printing is an essential business. My employees were never without work, from the beginning,” he said.
The unfortunate disruptions in business connected to COVID-19 would not be ones that Minuteman Press clients would face alone, as both of Rustum’s sons followed his lead and developed new strategies to help other businesses at this time.
Their digital print and wide-format technologies were working at full-blast on behalf of two local economies under stress.
“The boys were at each store, every day with a positive attitude and they insisted my wife and I stay home and safe. We maintained decent sales through being inventive and coming up with pandemic-era solutions like branded floor decals, producing enormous amounts at each centre,” he said. “Also, we devised ways to create counter screens (sneeze guards), with branding optional. We saw no one else producing them at the time and now, they are in big demand for small businesses, non-profit organizations, and individual events. This positively affected the quality of life for many people.”
With fall approaching and the needs of school districts are foremost on Rustum’s mind.
“We are preparing clear plastic boxes with three panels in preparation for the needs of children in school so they can safely learn at their desks as regulations allow,” he explained. “We designed them recently and saw another big company do something similar not too long after as there is great concern for student and faculty right now.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to loom, Rustum remains optimistic.
“We aren’t out of the woods as a society yet, but every day both of my sons run our family business with a positive attitude and new ideas,” he said. “We will always do what must be done for ourselves and our community to survive and then return to growth.”