Growing with the Times

After college, Andrew Hrywnak was unclear on the direction he wanted his life—and career—to take, so on a whim he answered an ad in a local newspaper for a job at Print Three Franchising Corporation. In many ways, this would be his first and last job out of college. Hrywnak is now president of the Concord, Ontario-based printing franchise, a role he’s been in for eight years. Hrywnak has seen some major changes in the 25 years he’s been with the company, including the role that technology now plays. Here, the Print Three president talks to us about some of the biggest challenges his franchise faces.

Andrew Hrywnak, President.

What past experiences, work-related or otherwise, do you feel really prepared you for your role as president of Print Three?
I started on the ground floor as a support representative, so I understand what the franchisees are going through, what their immediate needs are, and what their biggest concerns are. The original owner of the company was also a mentor to me, and I learned a lot about leadership from him. The most important thing he taught me was that you have to command a certain level of confidence to be a leader, which is something that’s served me well. I believe in what we’re doing, and that makes employees believe that what we’re doing is the right thing.

On a day-to-day basis, what are the biggest challenges you face in your role?
The challenges are different every day, but there is one constant: we’re working with a network of 50 strongheaded entrepreneurs, and it’s a challenge to get that many diverse, opinionated people to follow the company’s vision. We constantly have to iterate the fact that increasing the value of their business increases the value of the network as a whole.

What are some of the issues that the printing industry is currently up against?
Before, the industry was commodity-based. If you could produce a commodity and turn it around quickly, you’d do well. Things have changed so much, so quickly, that hardware isn’t as important as it once was. Software is now the most important. Communication software has become a bigger arm of the market, and it’s changed how we deal with customers. We have to keep up with the most current technology, because if we don’t, we lose our ability to reach customers and understand their needs.

Print Three recently decided to shift its industry towards independent shops. Why did you decide to bring these shops into your network? Why is it beneficial?
It’s part of our reflagging program, which invites independent shops to join our network. It’s a mutually beneficial partnership because these smaller shops don’t have the technology, infrastructure, or support they need, and they’re located in areas where we don’t have stores. Essentially, it’s an opportunity for them to join a network and have the additional support they need, and it’s a program that’s been extremely successful in helping us expand—and it only launched in May of 2012.

Andrew Hrywnak’s advice for franchises looking to break into new, international markets

•    Stay consistent and persistent.
•    Lead by example.
•    Make sure your network is leading the industry, not following the industry.

Print Three is also expanding on the West and East Coasts, with the goal of reaching 75 stores within the next five years. Why is the company expanding now? What makes this the right time?
We feel that the time is right for our group to grow. Being recognized as one of the leading franchise networks in Canada has given us an opening to grow our services in areas of Canada that we feel would require our service.

What have been your proudest moments with Print Three thus far?
I’d have to say it was winning an award of excellence from the Canada Franchise Association. It was always my goal to have our franchise recognized on a large scale because of what we were doing as a company. It’s something I strived for, and it’s always good to hear that your company is respected as a leader in its industry. We have a lot to offer franchisees and their families and customers. We take great pride in being an owner-operated network, and we take pride in the services we provide.