The National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) brands Curell’s combination of experience, talent and ambition as “vetrapreneurship.” A strong supporter of NaVOBA, Curell is among more than three million men and women veterans who have started their own businesses.
Twice wounded, once in 1993 and again in 1996, Curell’s military service began with training in high school. Ultimately landing as an Army paratrooper and communications specialist in the early 1990s, Curell had switched gears when poor eyesight prevented him from entering the Air Force Academy. His active duty military career ended with an assignment of disabled veteran status. Still, he hung on in the Army Reserves until 2000, when it became evident that he again needed to change direction.
Today, Curell’s redirected mission is growing and expanding his printing, franchise and corporate apparel operations in Prescott and nationally. The franchise model is the most recent addition, a venture he began in March 2014 and is intensively marketing. Open to anyone, the franchise opportunity is particularly targeted to fellow veterans who also were wounded, disabled and honorably separated from military service.
In a typical franchise arrangement, BDP Franchising, LLC delivers business assistance, training and related support to franchisees for a fixed percentage of revenues. That’s where the routine comparison stops and Curell’s energy, business acumen, and pursuit of knowledge generate competitive advantage for himself and his franchisees.
Curell’s printing and promotional services company, Better Deal Printing LLC (BDP), was ranked by Diversity Inc. among the nation’s top 500 privately held companies in 2014 and one of Arizona’s top 50 privately held companies two years in a row. The company specializes in corporate and government contracting with full color, eco-friendly, affordable printing, and services ranging from graphic design to bulk mail operations. Far-ranging products such as signage, promotional items and corporate branded apparel round out the product line.
A one-stop shop for Quad Cities-area clients, as well as national accounts including AT&T and the Veterans Administration, the printing company is able to turn out specific projects in a matter of hours from its facilities in the Prescott Lakes Commerce Center. Clients have been meticulously courted and served by Curell, whose business approach celebrates relationships, strives to exceed customer expectations, and promotes value at an “exceptional” price.
The Diversity Inc. recognition acknowledged the company’s reach across all 50 states and in 16 countries on four continents, and its designations as a Veteran-Owned Business (VOB) and a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Curell’s story has appeared in columns and articles by SCORE, local publications, and Vetrepreneur, a magazine published by NaVOBA for veterans owning businesses.
“Being a veteran myself, I understand how veterans think and work,” Curell explained. “Veterans are not afraid to work hard, take risks and when empowered, flourish. Veterans will always help each other and do their best to ensure their work is of the best quality, no matter what. I enjoy the teamwork and ability to help others.”
At every juncture, Curell has cultivated educational avenues and amassed the business skills needed to take the printing and franchise concepts to the next level. He sought the advice and counsel of Prescott’s SCORE team when obtaining his disabled veteran status. Additionally, he has earned multiple master’s degrees in various aspects of business management.
Curell’s foray into business ownership began in the living room of his Surprise home after his job was eliminated after Sept. 11. As with many other page-turners in his life, this opportunity was part planning and a significant amount of serendipity. Buying a used printer and venturing into a flyer printing business offered appeal and potential.
A single dad with two teens – a daughter, 16, and a son about to enter college – Curell strives to spend as much time with family as possible, sandwiching early office hours and late night catch up.
“I answer the 100+ messages in my inbox before the end of the day, and then watch them stack up again the next day,” he said, once again demonstrating the lengths to which he goes to ensure his clients are served, businesses flow and franchisees succeed.
For other businesses and individuals interested in supporting veterans, Curell suggests “opening jobs and training programs to assist them. At Better Deal Printing, [more than] 70 percent of our employees and franchises are veterans. There are numerous programs that companies can partner with to assist veterans in returning to the job market. A good resource is the Internet where business owners can search for programs in their area to assist in training and employing veterans.” QCBN