Standing on top of a hill on top of her car to get cell service in Nova Scotia, Kelly Sanders, owner of Ads Plus Printing, heard from her staff that Phil Hagerman wanted the company to open a second printing location in the Ferris Wheel building. She and her husband, Jack, were surprised by the offer, though very excited about the opportunity.
Ads Plus Printing had been thriving in Flushing for over 30 years; but with many clients in the Flint area, the company had long considered developing an online-only presence and calling it FlintPrints. Just before leaving for vacation, the Sanders’ discussed the need for the company to secure a Flint mailing address to help make the vision of FlintPrints a reality.
Office manager Ellen Burgess immediately began exploring opportunities to secure a Flint mailing address for the company, which connected her with Steven Elkins from the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. If you remember the old telephone game where the message that you begin with is not the message you end with, you’ll have an idea of how the process played out. Elkins suggested the Ferris Wheel Building and Skypoint Ventures, which was developing the building into a new coworking ecosystem. The initial inquiry, however, quickly morphed from Ads Plus Printing looking for a mailing address to the company seeking a physical address for a second printing location.
When Hagerman heard this, he was inspired and immediately said: “Yes, we want them here!” Hagerman was already investigating setting up a copy and shipping room at the Ferris Wheel Building, and Ads Plus Printing was the perfect connection.
Another set of phone calls clarified some confusion, and soon the Sanders’ were back on the hill in Nova Scotia discussing the opportunity with their staff. While it wasn’t what they initially set out to do, the chance to truly establish FlintPrints was too great to pass up. The staff was all in.
With the building’s Grand Opening featuring then-Governor Rick Snyder just 45 days away, the team quickly got to work on a building design, signage, additional staff to cover the two locations, and new equipment.
Kelly could only stand on top of her car and laugh as she reminded Burgess that they had started with the simple goal of securing a PO type mailing box, and now they were rapidly planning a new physical location with new branding. It felt like fate through miscommunication.
They arrived home from vacation to meet with Skypoint’s David Ollilla and see the space. A few days later, the company had enlisted the assistance of an architect and designed the space. When Jack connected with Hagerman in person, his only question was “Can you be open in 42 days?” As if the venture had been a longtime planning effort, and not the diligent work of a dedicated staff over the course of three days, Jack didn’t hesitate to respond: “Yes, absolutely!”
And that’s exactly what the company did: a fully operational print shop with a fulltime staff with online ordering capabilities. Adapting on the fly amidst a game of telephone turned out to be the best business decision for FlintPrints. The work of its dedicated staff alongside partners in Flint also brought a new service to downtown Flint and its budding community of entrepreneurs and innovators.