|Percy J. Marchand and the staff of NOLA Copy & Print, LLC.|
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Trumpeters played rhythmic music and a tuba player added the low-pitched baritone sound that announced the May 29, 2010 grand opening of NOLA Copy & Print, LLC, at 2051 Caton St., Suite B, in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. The musical entrée reverberated from the instruments of The Troy Sawyer Group, known for its soulful, innovative Nu-Jazz sound, and likewise from the Grammy-Award winning Rebirth Brass Band, which played sweet, New Orleans-style brass band music, the kind that a drum major could proudly step to.
Two years later, the sweet, flavorful sound of New Orleans music that Percy J. Marchand and his staff relished that wondrous day helped to usher in grand openings for two more NOLA Copy & Print locations – one at 3401 South Broad St. in the Uptown section of New Orleans and the other at 9301 Lake Forest Blvd. in New Orleans East – both taking place on Saturday, June 9, 2012.
“The building that we’re in is a beautiful, historic building,” said Marchand, referring to the 1,300 sq. ft. Uptown location. The Gentilly location, he said, is about 1,800 sq. ft. of office/retail space and the New Orleans East location is 2,500 sq. ft., which he calls the “Print Super Center.”
“It has a wide variety of machinery, photography studio and 6 Internet rental stations,” he said.
The expansion of NOLA Copy & Print is not a surprising or awkward move for a young entrepreneur who has a special kind of zeal and business acumen to match his winning personality. With an acute sense for business development, Marchand was bound to reach yet another milestone in his pursuit of excellence, which can be traced back to a family that spawned talented entrepreneurs.
Marchand’s father, George Marchand Sr., is an independent contractor. His mother, Janice Marchand, is a retired public school teacher who taught English for 40-plus years. And each one of Marchand’s siblings has been pretty successful at his or her own endeavor.
Marchand has two brothers and two sisters. One brother has his own company and the other one is employed at their father’s construction company. The younger of two sisters is a beautician and the oldest one is a production assistant at NOLA Copy & Print. A niece also works for the company.
“Growing up in our household, my parents would always encourage us to be creative…to think outside the box,” says Marchand, 31, recalling his parents’ wisdom. So it stands to reason or perhaps it was a foregone conclusion in the household that Percy Marchand, the youngest member of the clan, would become an entrepreneur and one day take New Orleans by storm and literally blow the competition away in the copy and printing business.
“We have a real strong presence in New Orleans and we interact with many people and organizations -- whether it’s giving back to the community or providing our business services,” says Marchand, working thrice as hard, including 20-hour days, to achieve more than a modicum of success. “We also have a reputation for getting large jobs out with a quick turn-around time.”
The business world is not for the timid or for those without purpose or direction. From the onset, Marchand knew what his life’s work would be and what he wanted to do with it. In retrospect, it was the tinkering and exploration of computer programs that a then-14-year-old lad would use to launch a business that would grow exponentially and inevitably shape his future and those he would eventually employ.
“When I was in the 8th grade, my mom purchased a computer, and I think I stayed on it for about 36 hours exploring all the different programs. I had to pay for all the ink and I started charging to print,” says Marchand, recalling the experience that triggered his entrepreneurial pursuit and thus unleashed a floodgate of ideas.
So while boys of the carefree age of 14 generally occupy their time with playthings, Marchand was busy laying a rock-solid foundation upon which he would build a business enterprise that would eventually catapult him to the top in the copying and printing industry and secure a place for him as one of New Orleans’ most esteemed businessmen.
Moving the business forward…
It all started in the Marchand household in Uptown New Orleans when young Percy was a freshman at St. Augustine High School. He was filling print orders for small clients then while juggling the rigors of school and his new business, Marchand Printing. With savvy to match, even at this young age, the up-and-coming businessman was producing and photocopying documents for local businesses, schools, organizations and other clients.
Although his newfound business was relatively small at the time and yet growing, Marchand would graduate with honors from St. Augustine in 1999. He was active, smart, astute, athletic and gifted musically, playing with relative ease the saxophone and piano. The school's first band director, Edwin H. Hampton, selected him as a drum major in his senior year for the world-famous “Marching 100.” He also was named as a National Merit Semi-Finalist.
Then it was off to Loyola University New Orleans, a Jesuit-Catholic institution. Business of course was still foremost in his mind, and he would pursue it with just as much determination as his course work. Two years later he moved his business out of his parents’ home. “It was my first experience outside the house,” says Marchand. Then he moved the business two more times.
Though not surprising to some, Marchand was named the North American Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year for Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas in 2001. He even served as vice-president of the Student Government Association at Loyola, president of The Black Student Union, and was initiated in 2000 into the Rho Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Marchand graduated as a “Top Ten Senior” in 2003 from Loyola with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration.
On August 23, 2005, Marchand moved Marchand Ink into a larger suite from a smaller office at 3869 Gentilly Blvd., which he’d occupied since 2001. But then the unexpected happened – the finale to what had been a successful journey for an enterprising entrepreneur. Just a few days after the move, a ferocious Category 4 hurricane named Katrina cut a swath of devastation along the Gulf Coast and left in its wake a heap of rubble, twisted steel and topsy-turvy lives. The city of New Orleans lay in ruin and so were the people who found themselves displaced with no choice but to leave behind their beloved city until they could return to piece together their fragmented lives.
Marchand and his family fled to Houston. At that time, Marchand Ink had been preparing to make headway in the copy and printing business. But the company was submerged in 3 feet of murky water that caused $50,000 in flood damage to the uninsured property and equipment. Depression would overtake the businessman, leaving him dispirited while he searched for the inner-strength to rebuild his life and business – for Katrina had plowed a gaping hole that took Marchand’s faith to plug.
There was nothing left for Marchand to do but retool and essentially start anew. Six months after Katrina, he did just that. He was back in business by May of 2006. “Basically I started over from scratch with no insurance,” said the life-long resident of New Orleans.
Marchand was back with renewed vigor, with a sense of purpose. Aside from his business interest, he found himself drawn to public service. In 2007, he campaigned for the 95th District seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives during the October 20, 2007 election. The following year, he stumped for a seat on the Orleans Parish School Board from the 6th District. He lost both races, but gained invaluable experience nonetheless.
While retooling, rebuilding and reestablishing a foothold in the copy and printing business, the unexpected happened again. This time Marchand Ink went up in smoke on November 1, 2009, along with Renaissance Hall, another business of Marchand’s that opened at the same location in June of 2009. The fire ravaged both businesses. A fallen power line had caused the fire, said Marchand, who was just 28 years old then and completely dejected and devastated.
Marchand was also beset by personal challenges as well, including the deaths of close friends and relatives. But the fire, he said matter-of-fact, was the toughest he had to face. However, not everything that happened to the Teflon businessman between Katrina and the fire would stick. He refused to give up. For example, he won a $1,000 Idea Café’s Pilot Grant in 2006, beating 1,700 applicants in the national competition. He also won $20,000 in the 2008 Miller Urban Entrepreneurs Series Business Plan Competition.
Marchand is not the kind of businessman who would give up or wallow in self-pity. His accomplishments, awards and accolades started pouring in at the onset of his career: Loyola University College of Business's Young Alumnus of the Year; Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year for Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas; Neighborhood Development Foundation's Small Business of the Year; and one of New Orleans Magazine's People to Watch. He has served as executive director of CareCorp, LLC, chairman of the board of the Gert Town Revitalization Initiative, and a member of the St. Augustine High School Alumni Advisory Board as well as the school’s Young Alumni Association.
Because of his string of successes, Marchand has been featured in the London Times Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, City Business Magazine, The Louisiana Weekly, The Clarion Herald, BIZ New Orleans Magazine, and appeared on the covers of the Times Picayune Money and Living Sections. He was also featured on PBS's Nightly Business Report and on WWL-TV4, WDSU-TV6, WGNO-TV26, and WVUE-TV8 television stations.
‘It’s just work and dedication…’
Marchand has weathered several storms of the worst kind, perhaps because he was always willing to work harder than the competition to build his business enterprise. With the expansion of NOLA Copy & Print, LLC, he has earned the moniker “King of Copy.”
The three copy and printing centers offer full-service black and white and color copies, large format and blue print copies, laminating, binding, faxing and scanning, in addition to computer/Internet rental stations, office supplies, and much more.
Commercial clients include businesses, schools, organizations and many others across the metro area and throughout the United States. The company produces business cards, flyers, letterheads, envelopes, newsletters, brochures, notecards, labels, multi-part forms, logo design, publication layout, wedding accessories, funeral and special event printing publications, and digital photography.
“The areas where we expanded to - I think the services are needed there,” says Marchand. “We’re definitely still recovering after the storm. I’ve been blessed and I’m doing my best to bless the areas where I’m going to do business.”
Now that Marchand is back in full swing, he ultimately wants to open two more locations and afterward offer franchising opportunities. He also wants to create more jobs. Sixteen people are currently working at NOLA Copy & Print, LLC.
“I want to move outside of New Orleans - Lafayette and Baton Rouge,” says Marchand, who took time to start and direct a program called YouthStartUp.com, a six-week business internship. The program provides educational, entrepreneurial, and life-skills development courses for at-risk youth ages 14 to 21. He also founded the African-American Leadership Conference, a three-day conference aimed at retaining college-educated African-Americans in the City of New Orleans.
“When you’re young and trying to do something, nobody takes you serious,” he added.
Does Marchand consider himself a role model? “In my mind, there’s nothing I’ve done that anybody else can’t do. I didn’t have a golden spoon. It’s just work and dedication. Anybody is capable of that,” he says.
But not many people have the wherewithal to be the kind of drum major that Percy Marchand has been.
NOLA Copy & Print locations:
• Gentilly: 2051-B Caton St. (next to the Caton Street Post Office). Office hours: Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Telephone: (504) 304-9140. Website: www.NolaCopy.com.
• Uptown: 3401 South Broad St.; Telephone: (504) 821-4001
• New Orleans East: 9301 Lake Forrest Blvd.; Telephone: (504) 241-2740.