Instant Imprints is a company that has its sights set on growth and development. Currently, there are just over 30 stores in the US, 13 in Canada and 5 under construction. "We plan to double in size this year and will add 15 to 20 in Canada alone," says President and CEO Ralph Askar. "We're also looking for area franchisees throughout Canada, including parts of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. We already have area franchisees in place for British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba."
Instant Imprints provides a one-stop shop for companies looking to market themselves through signs, auto or building wraps, embroidered apparel or promotional products such as pens, coffee mugs, golf balls and tote bags bearing their name or logo. "We do 15,000 promotional items," he says. "Anything you need to promote your business."
Instant Imprints stores occupy 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, usually in a strip mall close to a large, busy shopping centre. For their investment, franchisees get a turn-key operation, with no hidden or supplementary costs, says Askar. The parent company has negotiated supply and delivery agreements with vendors so that franchisees do not need to maintain large inventories. Another advantage is coveted work-life balance: stores keep standard business hours of 9am to 6pm Monday through Friday, so franchisees have weekends and national holidays off.
They receive five weeks of initial training, two at corporate offices in either Oakville, Ontario or San Diego, California, and another three hands-on in an existing store. As well, there are opportunities for internet learning, mentoring and exchanges of ideas with other franchisees. "We look for people who are hard working and service-minded," he says. "As well, I always advise potential franchisees to do their due diligence before making an investment to make sure they're going to be happy with what they're buying."