Former Oil Exec and Franchise Expert Signs Area Development Agreement with Instant Imprints for Colorado - The Online Magazine for the Sign Trade.
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July 18. 2016

Former Oil Exec and Franchise Expert Signs Area Development Agreement with Instant Imprints for Colorado

GREELEY, COLORADO - Instant Imprints®, a franchisor of branded apparel, signage, custom t-shirts, promotional items and print services, has announced the purchase of the state of Colorado by Richard Ballard, a resident of Greeley, CO. In the role of Area Developer, Ballard will expand Instant Imprints throughout Colorado, keeping in line with Instant Imprints’ aggressive franchise expansion plans. The company currently has three franchises operating in the Denver area and aims to add two additional locations by the end of 2016; 40 total by 2021.

After serving in the Navy, Ballard attended The Colorado School of Mines and graduated with a degree in Geophysical Engineering. During 11 years in the oil industry Ballard had assignments in the US, Alaska, and South America. With the collapse of the oil industry in the late 1980’s and having experienced four mergers and four layoffs, he was ready to become his own boss.

“I was tired of the instability,” said Ballard. “I was ready for a change and explored many franchise options.”

His research led him to Mail Boxes Etc. which later became The UPS Store. He relocated to Colorado to purchase an existing store and later became a successful multiple-unit franchisee. Twenty two years later, he sold his stores and was looking for his next business venture. This is where he crossed paths again with Ralph Askar, who was his Mail Boxes Etc./The UPS Store area developer.

Askar who later became the U.S. master franchisee for Instant Imprints, reached out to Ballard and asked him to become a franchise owner with Instant Imprints.

“I visited Instant Imprints and liked what I saw,” adds Ballard. “But, I already experienced being a franchise owner. I wanted to be an Area Developer for my state of Colorado.” The two struck a deal.

“I liked the concept of a business that helps to promote other businesses,” said Ballard. “Also, as an Area Developer and a former franchise owner, I’ve ‘been there done that’ in all capacities and I’m in the position to support Instant Imprints franchisees tapping into my past experience.”

Ballard supports his area franchise owners by providing:

  • Initial training
  • Store buildout and acquiring equipment
  • Opening support
  • Marketing
  • Business planning/coaching
  • Leasing guidance
“I’m seeking franchise owners for metro Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins. Loveland, Greeley, Pueblo and Grand Junction,” said Ballard. “These areas will complement the existing Instant Imprint locations in Longmont, Louisville and Centennial.”

After its beginnings as a family-owned business, current Instant Imprints CEO Ralph Askar and a group of shareholders bought the first Master License for Instant Imprints in Canada. Askar brought almost 30 years’ experience as a successful master franchisee for Mail Boxes Etc. and The UPS Store. The rest of the rights to Instant Imprints were acquired in 2011. Today, Instant Imprints has 49 operating centers across the U.S. and Canada, with short-term goals to add 20 centers, four Area Franchisees and one Master License by the end of 2016. For information, visit

Instant Imprints
1308 51st Avenue
Greeley, CO 80634
Phone: 970-396-4511
Website URL:

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