Covid Fuels Growth for the Brisbane Print Store Celebrating 20 years

by DC Strategy 14th of February, 2023
Covid Fuels Growth for the Brisbane Print Store Celebrating 20 years
Covid Fuels Growth for the Brisbane Print Store Celebrating 20 years

Global supply chain issues and pandemic-related printing needs have delivered strong growth for MBE Brisbane CBD as the business centre chalks up 20 years of operation.

Under the leadership of American backpacker-turned-business owner Chris Ryder, the enterprise – now one of the highest performing MBE stores in Australia – has recorded 200 per cent growth since COVID’s emergence. 

“The pandemic prompted significant demand for business printing, both COVID-related and general advertising, and the shift to working from home saw an uptick in demand for mailbox, virtual office and courier services,” said Mr Ryder.

“Global supply chain issues also saw many companies return to local printing to counteract untenable delays and stay agile in an ever-changing environment.”

The 42-year-old said a decision to support the struggling arts sector throughout the pandemic had also contributed to his centre’s strong performance.

“I’ve always had a passion for the arts, and music in particular, so when COVID hit, we went out of our way to support artists with more competitive pricing to help them get through the tough times,” he explained.

Mr Ryder has managed MBE Brisbane CBD, which was established in 2002, since 2014 and purchased the franchise the following year.

Strangely, he first set eyes on the business in 2006 while living in a backpacker hostel across the road from the centre, having just migrated to Australia from California.

A 27-year-old high school dropout with limited design experience when he arrived Down Under, Mr Ryder needed to study to stay in Australia, so decided to pursue graphic design at TAFE.

He excelled and, by April 2007, had landed his first Australian job, beginning work at MBE Eight Mile Plains in the Brisbane Technology Park.

It was there, while working in production and graphic design over a number of years, that he learned the ins and outs of the trade.

“The store started breaking sales records really quickly and I learned a lot about business, customer service and sales from my boss, Neil,” Mr Ryder explained.

“I was taught to never say no to a client and to under promise and over deliver, both of which remain central to how I work today.

“It’s also important to empower your customers and teach them how to save money on printing, because that makes them more likely to succeed.”

From his early days as a general MBE employee, the father-of-two worked his way up to become MBE Queensland State Manager.

He turned the Brisbane CBD centre around within months of taking over, and has managed six other MBE centres, helping them to scale up their operations.

“If you’re prepared to work hard – and as an owner, you should be prepared to work twice as hard as your employees – and are dedicated, you can run a successful small business,” said Mr Ryder.

“It’s critical you learn to be resilient, not to fear failure and to face your challenges head on.”

MBE chief executive officer Clayton Treloar said MBE Brisbane CBD was a great success story.

“Chris’ ability to stay responsive to a changing economy, with the support of MBE’s head office, and deliver exceptional customer service – and products –  are key to his success,” said Mr Treloar.

“He’s an incredible example of how owning a franchise can help transform a career and a life and we’re thrilled to see MBE Brisbane celebrate 20 years of operation in 2022.”

Now,after seven years at the helm of MBE Brisbane CBD, during which time he’s employed more than a dozen people, Mr Ryder is not slowing down.

“I expect the increased demand for domestic printing services to continue as businesses return to normal post-COVID,” he said.

“I think the pandemic has reminded many companies of the need to have trusted relationships with local suppliers.”

And, believe it or not, Chris is already thinking about the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

“That’s going to be a phenomenal time to be in business and we’re looking forward to working with our clients to help them make the most of Brisbane’s big moment in the world spotlight.

“I just feel really lucky to be able to have been given the opportunity I have here in Australia and with MBE and to be able to have given so many people jobs already, and I just want to pay that forward.”

Tags: covid-19 success small business growth franchises franchise news

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