Why it’s so Important to do What You Love
The career decision that Linda Boyd made 12 years ago could be considered the business equivalent of downsizing – for all the right reasons. She left a corporate behemoth for a franchise in its infancy, but one where everybody knows your name.
Since 2004, Boyd has owned and operated Instant Imprints, located at 1148 W. Dillon Rd., in Louisville. Instant Imprints transformed the apparel, sign and promotional products industries by combining multiple businesses into one with its offering of custom T-shirts, branded apparel, signs and banners, promotional products and print services.
Prior to becoming an Instant Imprints franchisee, Boyd and her husband Mike had been the owners of two McDonald’s restaurants after spending 12 years working for the global hamburger chain, most recently in in-store management.
“I worked for and owned one of the largest franchises in the world and really preferred the franchise model when looking to own my own business,” said Boyd, a Westminster resident.
While McDonald’s is obviously one of the world’s largest franchisors, Instant Imprints started out in San Diego as a small family business that had been franchising only two years when Boyd became a franchisee. It was since sold to a powerhouse in franchising, Ralph Askar, who took the company into a growth direction. (See tag at end for more info).
Instant Imprints differentiates itself by providing “uncommonly good customer service.” That five-star treatment also extends to its franchisees. Instant Imprints is the first and only franchise to share ownership with franchisees – offering 10,000 gifted common shares to every existing and new franchisee at no additional cost. Instant Imprints has a long-term goal to go public by the end of 2020.
“I had so much experience interacting with customers and I really missed that aspect of the business when we sold our restaurants,” Boyd said. “I also wanted the support you get from a franchisor and a business model to work from.”
The Boyds owned McDonald’s in Trinidad, Co., and Raton, N.M., for five years. Their first grandchildren were born while they were busy handling the responsibilities of restaurant ownership.
“The restaurant industry is very time-consuming. It’s 24/7, so I felt like I missed my first official year of being a Grammy,” Boyd said.
When Boyd joined Instant Imprints after the couple sold their stores and returned to the Denver area, numerous benefits accompanied the transition. Boyd works with a professional clientele, became an involved member of the business community and her grandchildren appreciate Instant Imprints’ friendly hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
“It was really a lifestyle choice when I joined Instant Imprints,” Boyd said. “With the business hours I feel like I get a vacation every week. I get to enjoy the aspect I like the best, helping people with customer service and I get to spend time with the grandkids. If you want a lifestyle change you must make a plan and make it happen. ”
Primarily, an apparel-based company, Instant Imprints’ strategy over the coming years is to stay current with products and technologies in order to grow its market share and also expand the signs, promotional products and print services of the brand.
It’s a blueprint that sits well with Boyd. “I bought the franchise with the plan to sell a profitable business at the end of my franchise agreement,” she said. “That is still the plan.”
After its beginnings as a family-owned business, current Instant Imprints CEO Ralph Askar and a group of shareholders bought the first Master License for Instant Imprints in Canada. Askar brought almost 30 years’ experience as a successful master franchisee for Mail Boxes Etc. and The UPS Store. The rest of the rights to Instant Imprints were acquired in 2011. Today, Instant Imprints has 49 operating centers across the U.S. and Canada, with short-term goals to add 20 centers, four Area Franchisees and one Master License by the end of 2016. For information, visit instantimprints.com.