PostNet Printing Franchise Brings 3D Printing to Clients Nationwide

Dave Thorsen of Minneapolis wanted to bring 3D printing to entrepreneurs everywhere. Here’s why he chose the PostNet printing franchise to help him make it happen.

Dave Thorsen's new PostNet franchise location in Minneapolis is making 3D printing accessible to entrepreneurs nationwide.

Dave Thorsen’s new PostNet franchise location in Minneapolis is making 3D printing accessible to entrepreneurs nationwide.

When the newest PostNet printing franchise location opens April 14 in downtown Minneapolis, the Neighborhood Business Center will bring small businesses nationwide easy access to a transformative technology — 3D printing.

While 3D printing is not in its infancy, it has been making headlines thanks to mind-boggling applications like 3D printed heart models to assist surgeons planning tricky surgeries, custom-molded running shoes, fast battlefield repairs for troop vehicles, printed food and even printed bones and organs.

The owner of the Minneapolis PostNet Center, Dave Thorsen, is determined to bring the tool to more entrepreneurs.

“I want to make it easy for inventors who have an idea in their head to quickly turn it into reality,” Dave says.

Dave Thorsen's PostNet franchise in Minneapolis will be able to print intricate 3D objects, such as these parts. (Photo courtesy of Stratasys)

Dave Thorsen’s PostNet franchise in Minneapolis will be able to print intricate 3D objects, such as these parts. (Photo courtesy of Stratasys)

3D printing helps make entrepreneurs more competitive by allowing them to quickly create prototypes. Using a 3D cad file provided by the inventor, a 3D printer will lay down layer after layer of material to create a 3D object that can even include moving parts.

Without 3D printing, the prototyping process is slow and cumbersome. Typically, an inventor has to collaborate with someone to create a mold, which is then sent overseas for creation of the prototype. Because of the time required for shipping and machining, weeks or months can pass before the prototype is back in the inventor’s hands. Then, he or she has to hope it works. If not, the process must be restarted from square one.

“It’s an incredibly slow and expensive process,” Dave says. “Speed to market is crucial for an inventor, and 3D printing makes it much faster. It also helps them protect their intellectual property, since you’re not having to ship your breakthrough idea to someone you’ve never met on the other side of the globe.”

Why partner with the PostNet printing franchise?

Dave is an evangelist for helping inventors take advantage of 3D printing. He wants to make the technology widely available and convenient, which is why he decided to become a PostNet franchisee. He considered starting his own franchise system to bring 3D printing to the masses, but he realized that he didn’t have the resources to capitalize and market 3D printing on his own.

Dave had seen PostNet featured on an episode of the CBS show Undercover Boss and was intrigued by the company’s commitment to its entrepreneurial customers and its franchisees. PostNet offers a full range of marketing solutions for small businesses, including digital printing, graphic design, direct mail, websites, email marketing and shipping. Just as importantly, PostNet has consistently innovated. What started as a pack-and-ship business with a few ancillary services has transformed into a full-fledged outsource marketing provider.

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(Photo courtesy of Stratasys)

In PostNet, Dave saw a company that was progressive enough to grasp the potential of 3D printing, and could also offer a range of services that inventors would need to properly market their inventions.

“Creating the perfect prototype is just the first step,” Dave says. “Once you have it, you need brochures explaining it and marketing materials to help you sell it. As you succeed, your need for marketing support will grow, and we’ll be able to support you.”

Minneapolis PostNet will have national reach

Another thing that attracted Dave to PostNet: Franchisees work together. He didn’t want 3D printing to be something that is only accessed by people near his Center. He wants it to be available everywhere. Since PostNet Neighborhood Business Centers work together to offer a wider range of services, he knew that by joining PostNet, he could reach inventors in Minneapolis, Asheville, NC, Bentonville, AR, Steamboat Springs, CO, and elsewhere.

Dave wants 3D printing to become commonplace. PostNet President and Co-founder Brian Spindel says he expects other PostNet Centers to send 3D printing orders to Thorsen’s store at first, and then they will start adding the technology in their own locations.

That type of organic growth is one of PostNet’s hallmarks.

“In the early days of wide-format printing, we only had a handful of Neighborhood Business Centers that had wide-format printers, and they would handle the wide-format printing for everyone,” Brian explains. “As the cost came down, they became common in individual Centers. I expect the same thing for 3D printing.”

Ready to go

Dave is eager to introduce people to the technology that they may have only read about in the news. He expects 3D printing to be transformative, and eventually, ubiquitous.

“I remember when the first cell phone came out, and it was a giant expensive brick. I thought, ‘This is ridiculous, why would people want one?’ ” he recalls. “That wasn’t that long ago — the late ’80s, early ’90s. Then, boom, it became convenient, and now hardly anybody has a landline phone. 3D printing is going to have that type of impact. It is going to help launch companies and improve lives.”

Thorsen’s PostNet Neighborhood Business Center opens April 14 at 701 N. Washington Ave., Suite 111, Minneapolis, MN 55401. Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. The number is 612-235-8000.

Learn more about PostNet

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The PostNet printing franchise is dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses grow, and we seek to partner with entrepreneurs who share our desire to help small business communities thrive. We have been ranked a top franchise opportunity by “Entrepreneur” magazine for 20 years in a row and have also won consistent awards from Franchise Business Review for franchisee satisfaction.

To learn more, fill out a form to download our free franchise report and start a conversation. Want to learn more first? Check out our research pages for the answers to many questions about the PostNet franchise opportunity, and visit our blog for more franchisee interviews and news. We look forward to talking to you!