– Contributor Mary Austin
How do you contribute to the success of our local economy? Do you bring your “A-game” to work everyday, not only to because it pays the bills, but because your role benefits the whole community? Or, are you one of our dedicated volunteers, who develop the incredible sports, culture and leisure programs that make our region a great place to live? Ingrid Hope, owner of Hall Printing, contributes through her passion to share her marketing expertise with Hall’s customers to promote their products, services and events with panache.
Some background. Ingrid credits her family’s support and encouragement as a key to her entrepreneurial success. She believes so strongly in putting her family first that she took ten years out of the workforce to raise her three children. While “taking time off” Ingrid worked tirelessly for many community organizations including Girl Guides of Canada, Beaver Valley May Days and parent groups for sports and school. This volunteering gave her many skills she was later able to utilize in business.
One of her first jobs when she returned to work was as a receptionist at Hall Printing, then owned by Dave and Gail Chartres. The Chartres trained and mentored Ingrid and she was quickly promoted to Office Manager. Knowing the whole picture of the business gave her increased confidence and when Dave and Gail approached her to purchase Hall Printing in 2005, she was excited to build on their success.
In an era when many small local print shops were closing, Ingrid bucked the trend and not only invested deeply in large-scale, modern printing equipment, but also bought Heritage Printing and McLaughlin Printing in Nelson. With her son Mackenzie running the Nelson branch of Hall and a commitment to high-tech, environmentally responsible printing, Ingrid was able to increase sales by 50% in the first three years. She continues to invest in updated equipment and ongoing training opportunities for her staff.
What was the “secret” to Ingrid’s success? Along with a strong family to support her goals, Ingrid credits her employees as a huge strength of Hall Printing. She describes how they not only “work super hard every day” but also bring “buy-in” through pride in their work and pride in their community. They also understand their customers and why Hall’s expertise matters in the community. Customers note that this is a huge difference in working with Hall’s team.
Ingrid’s local customers also are the third key factor in Hall’s success. Their relationship with Hall’s is not transactional; they are neighbours, co-volunteers, sport buddies and friends of friends. This mutual understanding is a big part of why Ingrid enjoys coming to work each day. She loves working with her team to create polished marketing material. The final product is not only an attractive showcase of customer’s goods, services and events, but also frees the customer to focus on what they do best.
What advice does Ingrid have for budding entrepreneurs? “Know your product and its value to your customer, and work to the customer’s expectations, not yours.” No wonder Ingrid is such a great example of entrepreneurialism in our community.
Stay tuned next for our next column, Tuesday October 15th, as we highlight local Entrepreneur and Community Futures GM Don Freschi on what Community Futures does and how it can be a great first stop for new and expanding businesses.
– Mary Austin is an active Board Member for both Community Futures and the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (LCCDTS). She is the Chair of the Lower Columbia Tech Club and the Lower Columbia Women’s Business Club. She is also co-owner of Austin Engineer Ltd. and feels fortunate everyday to be able to live and work with her family in this community. –