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Taking on a Prontaprint resale was a huge step for Ken Edwards and his wife Angela, but they took over the Hemel Hempstead operation in January and since then they have not looked back.
With a graphic arts background and a career at Fuji, Ken was ideally placed to operate the franchise but after he had been through the approval process, he had to wait for the right area. 'Then I got a call out of the blue saying that Hemel Hempstead was up for a quick sale, and I jumped at the chance,' he says.
The couple talked to the local HSBC bank, which came up with an attractive package including a year's free banking and direct contact with the bank's manager who oversaw the deal. Then the couple began their due diligence checks, before deciding to buy the franchise.
'To be honest, when you're looking at a resale you're never quite sure what you're getting,' says Ken, 'because you can never be sure about what the existing franchisee is telling you. At some point you simply have to make a judgement. A few things have crawled out of the woodwork, but nothing too drastic, and although some customers don't like the fact that we've had to renegotiate prices, most are happy.'
Staff are happy too, with Ken and Angela's relaxed management style. 'Everyone makes mistakes, but now they just put their hands up and admit it,' says Ken. 'The atmosphere is good now, and productivity has improved--that's something you can really measure.'
Customers are delighted with the fact that two week lead times for most work have now dwindled to just a week, as regular meetings with the staff have helped Ken to streamline operations and make everything …