Jim Gillespie has been with the company for 18 years, beginning with an entry level position, advancing to a customer service representative, then became an account manager.
But when former owner Art Kealey decided to retire, it was clear who he trusted to take over the company that he started 25 years ago under the name Zippy Print.
Because of a long-term transition plan, Mr. Gillespie had already taken over most of the owner’s duties before the official change of hands last month.
“I joke that all I’m doing differently now is writing cheques,” Mr. Gillespie said.
With five staff members (three of whom have been employees for more than 12 years), he said the only way to be an owner of a small printing franchise is to be hands-on.
Although much has changed in the company since Mr. Gillespie came on board almost two decades ago, some things have remained the same.
“Print is still very much alive, but it’s taken on a different role. We’re a mixture of the old and the new,” Mr. Gillespie said. “A lot of people still want that hands-on postcard in the mail.”
Services include full-colour printing, signs, posters and banners, mailing services, graphic design and printing consultations.
Allegra is a member of Allegra Network LLC, a franchise with almost 500 locations across North America including stores on Bank and Albert streets in Ottawa. Describing Ottawa as a “communications town,” Mr. Gillespie said there is plenty of business to go around and that each respects the other store’s territory.
His new role as owner will include attracting new customers and maintaining existing clientele. Mr. Gillespie would not disclose the purchase price of the company, but said that the transition went smoothly with no disruption.