SpeedPro Imaging’s July 2017 Franchisee in Focus: Mike Essig, Milford, Ohio
You know when you get a hankering for something to eat early in the day and you can’t shake the thought of that savory dish? And when it’s time to eat, your spouse decides they’re in the mood for something completely different...and it’s one of those moments where the dinner you ate was so good that it overshadowed what you’d dreamt about all day? In Mike Essig’s case, he had a craving to be the “Frozen Custard King of Cincinnati.” Today, even though he doesn’t have a catchy moniker, he reigns supreme as a Cincinnati-based franchise owner with the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise, SpeedPro Imaging.
Mike has called the Tri-State area home for most of his life. An Indiana native, he settled in Cincinnati when he landed a gig straight out of college at a powerhouse consumer goods corporation headquartered in the Queen City. After successfully navigating through the ranks there for a decade and-a-half, he moved on to a giant multinational financial services corporation based in Boston. Little did he know this job was preparing for a future he never saw coming.
“I actually worked where they printed information you get in the mail from all financial services companies,” says Essig. “They had their own print processing facility, so we were the biggest print mailer in the Midwest outside of the I.R.S. I worked there for 14 years so technically I have more than 20 years in the printing business.”
Life was good, but there was something always churning inside, a feeling that it may be time to venture out on his own. He had to face that intuition head-on when downsizing struck his company. But Mike didn’t treat the news as dire. “I saw this as the perfect opportunity to start my own business, try to create something rather than participate in someone else’s business while at the same time giving something back to the community.”
Custard! Cincinnati needs custard! That was the thought that raced through Essig’s mind as he contemplated his future as a new entrepreneur. He knew he wanted to take the franchise route because he believes there is “no need to reinvent something yourself when someone else has figured out how to build a better mouse trap.” As a growing child, he loved the frozen treat. Mike noticed that its chilled cousin (ice cream) was well represented in Cincinnati but custard shops were few and far between. “I was going to introduce Cincinnati to an alternative to all of the Ice-cream parlors we have here.”
It’s one thing to be passionate, but Mike is also a numbers man. Remember, he has a background in finance. The future dessert monarch took his proposal to a franchise broker. He didn’t try to dissuade Mike out of pursuing his dreams but instead had him investigate three alternative franchises. The broker added Mike had nothing to lose.
“I absolutely fell in love with the SpeedPro Imaging concept,” says Essig. “It’s one of those things I didn’t know I was a perfect match for until I saw it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that joining the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise was a much better opportunity for me than being the ‘Frozen Custard King of Cincinnati.’”
There would be no brain freeze here. The head prevailed over the heart. In 2009, he signed on to become a SpeedPro Imaging owner, a decision that he hasn’t regretted one second. “It was a great match for all of the training, all of the experiences I have had in the past with the two successful corporations I worked with in the past. SpeedPro Imaging had a very similar mind set.”
Mike particularly loves the fact that SpeedPro Imaging is customer-centric. While some large format printers take the “my way or the highway” approach, Mike appreciates the fact that SpeedPro looks out for the customers best interest. “We’re always willing to go the extra mile. It’s never about the lowest price, never about shoddy quality, it’s always about what’s the best value for our clients.”
That often means teaming up with his fellow SpeedPro Imaging owners in the region to tackle large printing projects – like outfitting all elevators in a skyscraper with elevator wraps or producing and applying hundreds of vehicle wraps for a nationwide fleet. Mike says that’s what separates SpeedPro from the others, the ability to collaborate with a network of more than 130 franchises coast to coast to get the job done. It’s those Great. Big. Capabilities. that have helped SpeedPro earn its reputation as the nation’s leading printing and graphics franchise.
The Cincinnati community is close to Essig’s heart. He describes it as a place where you just can’t walk in and expect business. “It’s a loyal city, you just can’t plop in and set up shop. You must connect with the city. It’s rewarding once you prove yourself.” Mike has fulfilled that requirement and shows his appreciation by donating his time and services to programs and non-profits.
Mike Essig may not be the “Frozen Custard King of Cincinnati” but he is still serving up some delectable treats. “When you wrap a vehicle, it’s amazing to see their tremendous enthusiasm and giddiness they display, it’s like they’re picking up a brand-new car.” He still managed to end each day by putting a smile on his customers’ faces.
For more information on the SpeedPro Imaging franchise opportunity and what it takes to be a successful franchise owner like Mike, please visit www.speedprofranchising.com.