By Mark and Ryan Nisbet
As brothers who have worked together in the past, we felt the chance to buy a successful Print Three franchise in Burlington, Ont., seemed like a solid business opportunity, even if the learning curve would be steep. It was an entirely new venture for us, but one that was a good fit for our skill sets. We bought our second franchise in nearby Oakville, Ont., about a year later and since then have focused on growing our client list.
I was born in 1976. I’m older than my brother by three years. Our parents are from Saskatchewan, but we were born here in Ontario.
As a child, I was really into sports, including hockey, competitive mountain biking, skiing and golf. Gym was one of my best subjects at public school, but I also took lots of art classes. I liked Lego and drawing and wanted to be an architect. Our dad comes from a large family of engineers. My uncle, for instance, was a civil engineer who always had big plotters running. So, it is somewhat fitting I now run a print shop.
In high school, I took design classes where we would use computer-aided design (CAD) programs for problem solving purposes. In one example, I had to build a desk for a computer. I’m a very visual and hands-on person. I have a creative mind, but not the right kind for, say, an ad agency.
I went to Fanshawe College in London, Ont., starting in 1997. Moving away to college was very appealing and I had lots of friends there. I took a general business program, covering marketing, economics and accounting.
When I finished college, I didn’t know what I was going to do next, but I felt entrepreneurial and wanted to get into business for myself. I had been working part-time at Canadian Tire from 1992 to 2001. It was a good fit for my interest in biking and I was managing the outdoor department by the end, so it seemed like I was going to continue in retail, but that was starting to lose its lustre for me.
A family friend was running a solar film distribution company in Oakville and was looking for an operations manager. My dad thought it would be a good experience for me. I worked there from 2001 to 2003, managing the staffing, warehousing, inventory, billing, etc.
We had another friend in Oakville who was looking to sell a vinyl coatings company. We saw the potential for growth and made an offer, but the facility needed a lot of work to get up to current standards. I quit the solar business and worked at the vinyl facility for a year to get it up to speed, but then the owner pulled the plug and walked away from the deal.