She felt special

DI 2013

My daughter Monica attended the Disney Institute  Approach to Leadership Excellence program at Ivy Tech yesterday.

When I asked her if she liked it, her response was “Yes being there was awesome enough but Jeff (Noel) sending me some magic was amazing!!!!!”  Over 100+ attended, she was presented these coveted ears in front of everyone. Now if you think I am crazy by calling them “coveted”, just attend a Disney workshop and you will see what I am talking about.

He went out of his way to make her feel special.  He certainly didn’t have to do that but he walks the talk.  Disney philosophy ” Make your guests feel special” and that is exactly what he did.

What do you do to make your guests (customers) feel special?

She will always remember how he made her feel and that is part of the Disney training. And by the way, Jeff wasn’t even attending this workshop, he went out of his way to make sure she got her ears!

Have a Flan-tastic day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Writing before the sun comes up.


Attention to Detail

It will come as no surprise to most of you that I am a Disney fan.

One of the things I enjoy most on my trip is studying Disney’s attention to detail.

On my recent trip we stayed at the Boardwalk for the first time. On the first morning while sipping coffee on my balcony I noticed an employee leaf blowing the sidewalk. I also noticed that there were not that many leaves on the walk and wondered if Disney does this at all resorts. Staggering miles of walks to maintain.


On day two I again noticed an employee leaf blowing, but this time I noticed something special. As two guests approached, the employee turned off the blower, stepped aside to let the guests pass and then resumed her duties.


On day three I was greeted with a truck, generator and two employees. Now I have to admit that it was quite noisy but this one blew my mind. This day they were scrubbing the walks with a hand-operated floor type scrubber. As you can see in the picture, it was clearly making a difference.


Disney’s attention to detail is astounding.

Have a Flan-tastic Day and pay attention to detail around you. It can change your perspective.

Donna Flanagin

Random me: I am the Fairy GladMother in the Popcorn Parade. Shhhh…don’t tell the children.

Sometimes EDDM is not the best choice


I recently had a customer that was considering enlarging their envelope to qualify for EDDM.  The quantity was approx 50,000 pieces covering 6-7 different zip codes going to eastern US states. Click here for EDDM quick reference.

Why I believe this was not the best idea.

1.  Additional cost for larger custom envelope

2.  Additional printing to add City, State and Zip to each group on each magazine

3.  Shipping 50,000 pieces to each local post office.

Leaving the mailing in a #10 envelope but mailing it as a regular saturation mailing was more cost-effective.

Sometimes EDDM is a good idea and sometimes it is not.  Ask your local USPS bulk mail representative or a reputable mailing service.

Have a Flan-tastic day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me: Creating three new Flanagin Fairy costumes for the 2013 Popcorn Parade.

Finding your company’s brand

This card is for Caitlin.

Not a card I received, but I card I give

Simple way to find your brand….ask your customers.

It really doesn’t matter what YOU think it is, it only matters what THEY think it is.

If you don’t get the response you hoped for, then work on changing your brand.

I wanted to know and here is what they said:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Quick, efficient, cost-effective, friendly service.  You are awesome!

Dawn Duty, Boys & Girls Club of  PC

Friendly, efficient , cost saving service.

Kathy Bledsoe, Contemporary Dentistry

Very helpful, make the best suggestions to suit our needs, friendly service!

JoLynne Ellis, Members Source CU

Great personal attention and service

Laura Shurr Blaney

I would call you the BETTER BUSINESS BRAND,  as you are always striving to help NGO’s and business’s be better.

John Rouster, Every Child Ministries

Excellent customer service, flexible, and knowledgeable!

Kris Krouse, Shirley Heinze Land Trust

Excellent customer service, going above and beyond, expertise/extreme knowledge of mail system, always there to take care of you when you need a job done, no worries in your performance, competence, anything. When a job goes to Flanagin’s, I do not have to think twice about it. It will be done and done well.  

Thanks to all your Flanagin team! You make my job easier!

Susan Antoszewski,  Marketing and Communications, Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce

I’d tell them that you do an excellent job of efficiently preparing mailings and you understand the postal service’s regulations.

Larry Galler, Small Business Greatness Coach

Exceeding customer’s expectations with Sunshine!  I know that’s not exactly what you’re looking for but it’s the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about your company.

Debbie Thiel, (just a little biased J and our real ray of sunshine here at Flanagin’s)

I always tell my customers we partner with a mailhouse in Valpo called Flanigans

Russ Franzman, Russ’ Printshop

I’d call your brand: personal efficient local expert caring

I’d say that the biggest challenge regarding your brand is leveraging the homey/family thing with the expertise that you bring to mailing services. Those two elements are not generally complementary, so for you, absolutely unique. Care is required to bring them together in just the right way.

Sandi Weindling, Dunes Learning Center

When I think of Flanagin’s, I think of people who are honest, friendly, local, detailed and professional. I think of Flanagin’s as an extension of REGIONAL’s marketing department, who can be counted on to do the job. Flanagin is that partner that you only have to ask one time and you know without a doubt the job will be be done on-time and correct.

Kevin Kosak, Regional FCU

 My perception of your business is extremely helpful, professional, and I never have to worry about things getting done.  I can send a mailing list over to you and I know it will get done in a timely and professional manner.  Also I know I can always come to you with questions and I will get the answers I need.  I have always been more than happy to recommend your business to potential customers. 

Sue Stymiest, Resource Director, Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce

I know for me, I choose you because of your reliability, cost, and flexibility to work with and suggest solutions for my unique constraints!

Anand Bhatt, Sonicwave International

Friendly. Customer-centric. Relaxed. Compassionate. Accommodating.

Sue O’Leary, former Pres Independent Cat Society

I would say that Flanagin’s brand is a service business that helps other businesses save money on postage.  Not only postage, but time. 

I have always perceived Flanagin’s as a top-notch business.  Even from the days of sending out the Memorial Opera House newsletter, I can remember the wonderful customer service.  Some of the nicest, easy to do business with, business people in Valparaiso.  Not always looking to make the next big deal for themselves, but ALWAYS trying to make the next big deal for Valpo as a whole.

 One of the things I think about when I hear Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service is they do a job that I dread (figuring out the USPS) and they do it with a smile and on time and save me money.

If someone asked me about Flanagin’s,  I would give high praise for customer service and delivering a service that is valuable in dollars and time saving for all they serve.  They are what every small business should strive to be….the best at what they do and the nicest while doing it.

Kurt Gillins, Program Director Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce

Direct Mail marketers who perform at a very high customer service level and get results.    

Rex Richards, President Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce

I just tell people that Donna knows so much about the Post Office systems and mailing rates that it is not worth the investment in equipment and learning time to do it yourself .

Paul Campbell, Acme Print

Flanningans is an awesome direct mail supplier – they are the final piece to making sure your mailing gets mailed to the right place, right person, at the right time – and they do it in the most cost-effective manner that saves any business time and money!!

Karen Wilson, Indiana Furniture

I am thinking of your business as a one stop mailing, where I am being shielded from many complexities of the mailing  process.

I have a confidence that you know what you do and stay on top of any changes in rates and regulations.

Mietek  Boksz, John Paul II Foundation

When I think of Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service – I think of Donna.  She’s friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and fun! Flanagin’s is easy to do business with and always does a good job.  You are mailing campaigns made simple.  

Beverly Lewis, Owner Beverly Lewis Group

Anyway, Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service has helped us streamline our weekly statement mailing process. Utilizing Flanagin’s has saved us about five hours per week in labor and savings on postage as well. Their staff is very team oriented and really cares about the customer.

Scott Reed. LTF Eye Clinics

Quick bulk mail service that saves time and money.  Also great for cleaning up databases

Olga Petryszyn

I would say you are very professional and on top of things. You offer prompt, helpful, and courteous service. I also appreciate that you anticipate our needs and alert us to things we should know about as a customer and as a nonprofit organization.  You hold a positive and stable place in the network of businesses we deal with.
            Kathleen Nielsen, Independent Cat Society

I think of a networking engine/ opportunity. Not only are you out there at different events, but your product/ service (bulk mailing) provides the opportunity for organizations to network by passing along information to other entities.

Kimberly Newhard, Shirley Heinze Land Trust

I would say Flanigan’s bulk mail is a bulk mail service business with its eye on being involved in the community. 

You ladies are clearly philanthropists.  🙂

Jessica DeWitt, former owner of Jem Research

You are the poster child for customer service.

Christine Livingston, Indiana Dunes Tourism

You ladies are your brand.  Service is what you stress and everyone associated with you screams service.

            Chris Mahlmann, ValpoLife

High quality service. Very caring about your clients and meeting their needs. Extremely knowledgable. Excellent customer service. 

Lorelei Weimer, Executive Director, Indiana Dunes Tourism

I think of you as my personal mail consultant and full-service mailing house.

Liz Simmons, Via Marketing

When we think of Flanagin’s, we think of friendly, reliable service.

Lorella Rouster, Every Child Ministries

Just like Granger, you’re reliable, you get it done!

William Stack, Owner Spinnaker Group

Marketing service company

Bruce Lindner, PCACS

Scatter Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me: Why was this post hard to share with you?

A ValpoLife that Matters – some days are just plain special.

This card is for Caitlin.

This card is for Caitlin.

On Monday I got a call from Caitlin Vanlaningham wanting to know if I would like to be featured as “A Valpo Life that Matters” for Caitlin immediately knew I was overjoyed by my “not so” calm response.

We met for the first time on Tuesday afternoon and the article was published by Wednesday morning.  Just another “wow” by and Caitlin.

Click HERE to read the article.

Scatter Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I owe so much to Debbie Thiel.  She is an unwavering supporter of my life and business.

Junior Flanagin Fairies and Applebees

Our Local Applebees

Our local Applebees recently shut down to remodel.  When they re-opened the walls were lined with murals of local people and events.

To our amazement, there they were, our Jr Flanagin Fairies from the 2011 Popcorn Parade.  Madison and Reese (aka Ginger Glitterdrop and Scarlet Sunflower)

We are so proud and so happy for the girls.

Kudos to Applebees for highlighting our community, people, and local events.

The original picture

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me: I usually put too much pressure on myself.

Hidden History #20 Roses are Red

A Rose is a rose is a rose

For sale at the general store are varies flowers. 

Look closely and you will see one single red rose for sale.

This red rose symbolizes the  Unsung Hero R.O.S.E. Award presented to our company in 2010.

Definitely an important part of our hidden history.

Click here to view Hidden History #21

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me:  For most of my life, I never “really” saw the grandeur of a sunrise.

Hidden History #15 Not Just Any Tree

An outdoor feeling

A tree next to an outdoor billboard seems appropriate.

Gives the proper outdoor feel.

It’s not just any tree, look closely.

A closer look

Each customer gets a place of honor on our Company Tree.  We are truly grateful to our customers, without them we have nothing.

Have a Wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me:  First job was a car hop at Dog & Suds.

Hidden History #8 When Opportunity Knocks, Open the Door

And so it begins

It really all began when opportunity knocked and I opened the door. 

I owned a secretarial service and an existing customer called and asked if I would research bulk mail software.

I knew absolutely nothing about bulk mail but I said “sure”!

Who knew where that blind faith would lead me?

So Hidden History #8 is a letter in our mailbox from that customer. 

A very important part of our history.

Click here for Hidden History #9

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service

Random me:  Sometimes I am overwhelmed and today is one of them.


Postcards purchased on the internet all stuck together like a brick.

Every Door Direct Mail vs Saturation mailing.  Which one is a better fit for you?  (postage pricing as of 6/4/12)

EDDM RETAIL  vs  EDDM BMEU (Saturation)

  • Retail = No permit purchase required
  • BMEU  = Permit purchase required     
  • Retail    = 5000 pieces per day limit
  • BMEU = No daily limit
  • Retail    = Must be dropped at each zip code P.O.                               
  • BMEU = No drop required
  • Retail    = Mail piece must measure as a flat
  • BMEU = Any size
  • Retail = No address required
  • BMEU  = Address and/or simplified address required
  • Retail    = No non-profit postage rates
  • BMEU = Non-Profit postage rates apply
  • Retail    = Lowest postage available 14.5 cents
  • BMEU = Lowest postage available 6.8 cents
  • Retail = DIY
  • BMEU  = may require a service

I hope you find this helpful and if  you have any questions, leave a comment.

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service (click here)

Random me:  No more up road rage, I now feel sorry for them.

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