Jeffery Park really had no intention of becoming a one-man operation. Yet thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, that is exactly what his printshop is. The owner of Spark Business Solutions had to lay off his staff in order to keep his business profitable. “I have been running a single-man show since last March and it has been interesting because I am doing the work of three to four people.” That work includes printing every from wide format posters, blue prints, postcards, businesses cards, magnetic forms, canvas and three-part forms. "I could talk for six days on all the things we print," says Jeffery with a laugh.
Prior to COVID, Jeffery would meet with his team for brainstorming, there was a team proofing process and then each member had their own tasks. “Now it’s all down to me. The challenge is being a one-man show and still meeting tight time frames. I can do everything, but I can’t do everything as efficiently.” Jeffery looks forward to the days when he can return to handing this off to members of his team. “We still have managed somehow to not go into the red. We are doing pretty good.” Jeffery is hardly complaining. He is thrilled to be doing what he loves and more than anything else, he loves his independence. “I worked for a gentleman and we ran a UPS store for 10 years,” Jeffery says. “He decided to cancel that franchise and that is when we started this.” Shortly after starting this franchise, Jeffery bought out his previous employer. That was four years ago. “I am a graphic designer by trade, I took the graphic design program at Fanshawe College, but I have been an artist since kindergarten. I figured if I am going to make some money I may as well do that by doing something I enjoy.”
Spark Business Solutions offers many services. “We primarily work on graphic design and all aspects of print,” Jeffery says. “We do have subsequent businesses such as shipping and mailboxes, and we do other offsets like toner sales because who wants to pay the price of toner at big box stores, right? The primary purpose for us is print and design.” Spark Business Solutions can do everything from small business to personal to massive corporate. “A few years ago, we had a national campaign with a big box store. When it comes to the creative aspect we have dealt with companies such as Subway, Enbridge, and Nissan. A wide variety of clientele, allows for creative opportunities.”Jeffery, who is 39, says being a small, independent business has its advantages. “We have a free artistic license here because we don’t have anyone else to answer to,” Jeffery says. “We produce unique jobs for clients that nobody else can do because everything is done in-house.”
Jeffery looks forward to the end of the pandemic when he can rehire staff. In the meantime, he is riding out the storm. “It may sound kind of silly, but for me, it’s not about the money it's about enjoying what I do,” Jeffery says. “I always held freedoms higher than chains of economics, and here I don’t hate going to work and I don’t have cringe-inducing stress.”