The Minuteman Press franchise in Rohnert Park weathered the pandemic with savings, loyal customers, new products, and long-term employees. The Koi Nation owns the franchise; founder Dino Beltran has served on the Koi Nation Tribal council for almost 30 years. Dino praised the small franchise in 2019: “Our success is directly related to our outstanding employees. They established consistent and reliable services when we opened, and that excellent service has earned us loyal and repeat clientele.” In 2020 the franchise moved to virtual service, focused on digital products, and created a drop-off area for in-person customers. New and sophisticated equipment went live in the summer of 2020, creating new and expanded services for the clientele. The strategy paid off; business in the summer of 2021 was almost back to normal.
The path to success has not always been easy. During project development the company scrambled to find a location, train staff, and make decisions about equipment and capital investments. The initial plan was to use equipment purchased from an existing printing business and focus on saving revenue. The plan worked well, and Koi Nation was able to pay off their guaranteed loan from the Indian Loan Guarantee and Insurance Program (ILGP) two years before its maturity date. The Tribal owners worked as a team and had a good working relationship with the staff at ILGP. “They worried about me and prepared me for my business. We were lucky enough and fortunate enough to work with them,” recalled Dino.
Today the Minuteman franchise has a dependable customer base, including other local Tribes and casinos, and is considering ways to solidify benefits for the employees, including any Koi Nation citizens. Dino summed up his advice for other Tribal entrepreneurs: “Wait it out for people who are going to do the job and like it. Finding the right employees is really key.”