As President of MBEC Communications Inc., the Master License Franchisor of The UPS Store in Canada, David Druker carries with him extensive experience in operations, retail sales (including nineteen years for Cellular Solution and Cantel – now Rogers Wireless) and franchising. He is a current member of YPO, and is an active board member with the CFA (Canadian Franchise Association).
Q: How did you know that you wanted to work in franchising?
A: Not to be cliché, but when I started I needed help so franchising was the ideal way to be in business for myself, but not by myself. The support and education that I received throughout my years with Rogers was equally or perhaps even more valuable than my formal education in my evolution to today.
Q: How did you get started in the franchising business?
A: In 1993, I became Cellular Solution’s first franchisee and subsequently grew to own and operate multiple franchise locations in Quebec and Ontario. By mid-1998, I operated multiple Rogers kiosks in Club Price Costco outlets in Quebec and Ontario, and multiple retail stores with corporate offices in both Montreal and Toronto. At its peak, I was managing a network with more than $10 million in annual revenues and a team of 110 employees.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you got before starting your first franchise?
A: Make sure that you do your due diligence, ask questions. If you have spent enough time, you will hear the good, the bad and the ugly and then you know that you have enough opinions to help guide your decision. But always remember that opinions are not the same as absolute truth, so listen carefully, but judge all the factors including the perspective of the person offering their opinion.
Q: What motivated you to apply for a UPS Store franchise?
A: I was introduced to The UPS Store concept during a Florida visit when I needed a document printed and shipped. The customer service was exceptional. For me that has always been the most important ingredient of a great business, so I decided to investigate the opportunities available in Montreal for this winning concept. I applied for a franchise in Canada, and in 2005 acquired the Area Rights for the province of Quebec. In 2008, I, along with my partner, Larry Plotnick (now Executive Chairman of The UPS Store Canada), acquired the Master License for the whole of the country.
Q: What were the main challenges of growing The UPS Store franchise? How did you overcome them?
A: Awareness of the fact that we do more than just shipping is a major challenge, only 1 in 3 people are aware that we are Canada’s largest network of print centres and a key resource to small business in Canada. To combat that challenge, we market, market, market!
Q: Was growing The UPS Store franchise easier after your experience at Rogers? Were there any transferable skills you were able to apply?
A: My experience as a franchisee is fundamental in guiding me in the decisions and actions of today. I am constantly considering the perspective from the franchisee side of the counter but I have learned a new respect for the tough decisions that the franchisors’ role entails. The right decision for long term is not always the popular decision in the short term.
Q: How do you manage the scope of The UPS Store franchises – specifically the logistical and managerial challenges involved with such a large-scale enterprise?
A: We are very fortunate to have a great management team! As an entrepreneur I wear a lot of hats, and as the president I have to make the final decisions, but thankfully we have great people with years of experience in marketing and operations to guide and influence those decisions in the right direction.
Q: What are you most proud of in your career?
A: The opportunity to continue to grow and develop as a business leader and contributor is likely the proudest part. I consider myself very fortunate but also know that it takes skills to be able to execute when opportunity presents itself.
Q: What characteristics does a company need in order to be a good candidate for franchising?
A: There has to be a systematic process that can be uniformly duplicated, that is the real key to franchising success along with a well-developed support system.
Q: Where do you see yourself and The UPS Store in the future?
A: Thankfully, we still see great opportunities for both unit (location) growth as well as same store sales growth. We are a dependable service provider, conveniently located to help small business in Canada, whenever and wherever the need arises.