Coping with COVID
SC Biz News is speaking with small businesses and community leaders about the impact of the new coronavirus on business and industry, and how this is changing how they operate.
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Minutemen from all across the country are taking up arms and preparing for battle. Their weapons: commercially designed printers. The war: COVID-19.
Almost 1,000 owners of independently owned Minuteman Press printing franchises have gathered on social media to discuss how they can play their part in reviving their communities amid this global virus. Ron Malm, operations manager of the Mount Pleasant franchise, was part of that conversation.
“The minuteman is always ready to help within a minute, so when this all came up, this felt like a call for us to help,” Malm said. “We’re all about safety, solidarity and stimulus.”
In less than a week, the collective group launched the Bounce Back USA initiative. Over a series of three phases, the company hopes to become a hub of resources and information for local small businesses.
The initiative includes offering free community advertising on the franchise website, allowing businesses to post updates and special deals. Minuteman Press will also distribute free COVID-19 awareness and prevention posters to businesses.
“The more involvement we have from local businesses, the more it will help drive involvement from consumers,” Malm said. “It’s just getting people to realize how easy it is to reach hundreds, if not thousands, in just one click.”
Malm said about a dozen businesses in the Charleston area have submitted an online form to take advantage of the free advertising. About 1,500 have participated companywide.
The franchisees are paying for the free signage for the community, Malm said.
Though his franchise has lost business during what is usually one of the busiest times of year, with weddings and graduations, Malm said he’s more focused on service to the community than on making money.
“If we sit idly by and wait and are stagnant, it’s much harder to bounce back,” Malm said. “If we’re proactive, rather than reactive, we can make steps like these to promote ourselves and others, and there’s an exponentially bigger chance of not just surviving, but thriving again.”
As the initiative gains traction and more businesses sign up, Malm said the next steps will be to expand informational resources, including posting articles and using marketing to drive consumers and involve the community.
“Some of these smaller businesses won’t survive if we don’t do all that we can to promote them,” Malm said. “I just want to see every business stay open if we can; I just want to get back to normal as quick as we can.”