PostNet franchise keeps couple grounded

10/31/2013 12:00 AM

10/30/2013 4:41 PM

The flight attendant told the guy she didn’t date pilots.

“That’s just silly,” the pilot said.

You can probably guess what happened next.

“I broke my rule and look what happened, 22 years later,” Liz Anderson said.

Liz and her pilot-turned-husband, Jim, are still married and working together. But today they own and run the east-side PostNet franchise instead of manning coast-to-coast flights.

PostNet offers printing, copying, graphic design, shipping and other services. The Andersons’ location is one of two in Wichita and about 800 worldwide franchised by the 20-year-old Denver-based PostNet International Franchise Corp.

The Andersons bought the franchise after Jim came to Wichita to work for NetJets, only to see his job eliminated. Anderson, who had flown professionally for 25 years, spent about six months researching business opportunities before settling on a PostNet franchise.

They opened on Greenwich Road five years ago and moved just around the corner, to East 21st Street, last month. Counting the Andersons, the business has three full-time and two part-time employees.

Jim Anderson said he was attracted to PostNet because the corporation offers strong support to its franchises but lets them run their business the way they want to. The first couple of years were tough, he said, but the couple has built a client list that ranges from “Koch (Industries) all the way down to the guys that do handiwork.”

Most of the franchise’s business is commercial, although they do print wedding invitations, posters and other items for individual customers.

“We’ll run somebody 50” copies of something, Liz said. “A lot of places won’t do that.”

Jim Anderson said the key to growth has been gaining the trust of fellow small business owners. He said his wife is good at coming up with business plans for clients that make the most of their budget.

“We’re in it to try to make business partners out of them,” he said. “That doesn’t happen overnight.”

Liz said she has learned much from training offered by PostNet and from fellow franchisees around the country.

“We don’t miss a seminar,” she said. “We don’t miss a training. You have to put it in to get it back out.”

Liz calls the franchise her husband’s “baby” and says she’s just along for the ride. That might have been true in the beginning, but when Jim launched an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2009, she suddenly became a full partner.

“I had to step out and do marketing and sales,” she said.

Liz said she’d always been active as a volunteer while raising her family, so it wasn’t too big of a leap making sales calls. She was recently named to an advisory council for PostNet franchisees.

Soon, she may be busier than ever.

Her husband is flying again, teaching lessons at Flight Safety. And Jim, who finished last in the four-person Republican primary won by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, said he’s also thinking about running again – a comment that causes Liz to smile.

“She’s not sure,” Jim said. “I’ll do it different this time.”

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