Throughout Rhode Island, Minuteman Press franchisees are making a difference for their clients and their communities. Each of these Rhode Island-based franchises are independently owned and operated by strong women in business. They have unique insights to share about how they became entrepreneurs, why they chose Minuteman Press, and what it’s really like to own a business.
Dynamic Duo in Warwick and Providence: Meet Karen Fraielli and Valerie Chanoux
For twenty years, Karen Fraielli and Valerie Chanoux have been business partners. They have owned and operated their Minuteman Press franchise in Warwick, Rhode Island since 1999, and then bought a second franchise in Providence in 2002. Before Minuteman Press, Karen was a CPA working for a public accounting firm in Providence for ten years, and Valerie worked as an operations manager for UPS and Airborne Express.
Why did they choose Minuteman Press? Valerie says, “In looking at different options and franchises, we knew that we wanted a business with longevity, to work on a business to business level with skilled, trained employees. We didn’t want to be in the food service industry or a retail business with high employee turnover. In looking at franchises, Minuteman Press International stood out as fitting those criteria as well as the support that they provided to the owners. Also, the potential customer base was vast in that every business needs some type of printing done.”
The ongoing support from Minuteman Press has also been a huge help. “Minuteman Press is always there when we need them. Twenty years ago, the support was more technical in nature, and now the amount of support they provide in the research of industry trends, equipment, and outside vendors has been a great help in getting us to where we are today.”
Karen and Valerie have proven themselves with customers and in their community for two decades. Valerie says, “When we first opened our Warwick location, we had Karen, [myself], and one press operator. Today, we have a staff of ten, a logo wrapped delivery vehicle, two locations, and we provide a full range of marketing services to our customers including large format posters and banners, a full range of offset printed stationery, promotional items and full color marketing materials. And now we even offer custom dye sublimation. Now our production time is as soon as same day service.
“The fact that we have stayed up on technology is how we provide these services, and do so quickly.”
Karen adds, “Being involved in the community is important. Not only as a business owner, but as a person. People do business with people. If you are recognized in the community by some sort of involvement, business will come organically. I have been a mentor to a young student for many years, providing not only time, but teaching skills, developing trust and building a relationship that will help a young girl grow up successfully.
“Rhode Island Mentoring recognizes me not only as Karen Fraielli, but as Karen Fraielli from Minuteman Press. We are happy to donate to this organization.”
Valerie has been involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for over eighteen years. She says, “Minuteman Press designed marketing materials for local events, including t-shirts, posters, etc. Just recently, the Susan Komen Cancer Foundation reached out to Minuteman Press to design a new logo and print marketing materials that are distributed in the Northeast.”
Ron Rubin is Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for New England. Ron says, “Karen and Valerie have been very focused on running the business the way Minuteman Press is designed to run. They don’t reinvent the wheel and their hard work has paid off.”
Karen and Valerie echo that sentiment, saying, “Hard work and a determination pays off, that’s for sure! We are fortunate to have a business partnership and friendship in which respect for each other is our first priority.”
Looking back on twenty years, they reflect, “Running a business takes hard work. When looking back at the years, we have worked hard, together, to build a strong reputation in the industry that we care about our customers, take pride in what we do, offer a quality product, and we have a staff that does the same. Most of our staff has been with us for over fifteen years. We take pride in this and truly believe that our customers trust us to be the best for them.
“Our business has grown because of our reputation and through referrals. To say that we have been in business for twenty years is rewarding in itself.”
Their advice to others is this: “If you really want it—do it. Plan on working hard and take nothing for granted. Always plan for the future and don’t be complacent.”
Printing Veteran and Stay at Home Mom Jeanne Salisbury Finds a New Path in Pawtucket
Jeanne Salisbury was no stranger to the printing industry when she joined the Minuteman Press family. She explains, “I started working at Rapid Printing in North Providence, Rhode Island in the early 1980s. I worked for a few years and then left to have kids and be a stay at home mom until my kids were in school. I returned to work at Rapid Printing again in 1993 and stayed on until 2005. I was a little down in 2005 when I left Rapid Printing and thought, ‘What do I do now?’ I loved working in the printing business, the ever-changing fast pace kept me invigorated.”
Jeanne found her answer with Minuteman Press in Pawtucket, where she opened a brand-new location in 2006. She says, “I saw Minuteman Press advertised, and I called Ron Rubin. I loved the industry already and decided to open a new shop and build it from the ground up.”
Ron Rubin adds, “Jeanne had experience and wanted her own business. Her original location was 1,000 square feet, and she built this business by working hard and always doing right by her customers. In 2018, Jeanne bought her own building, which is 2.5 to 3 times the size. Her son Jeremy is now on board with the business and just completed training himself.
“Like so many Minuteman Press franchises, we are proud to welcome the second-generation into Jeanne’s Pawtucket location.”
The bond that Jeanne has with her many clients that have been with her since she opened has helped build business partnerships and friendships. Jeanne says, “I have a lot of clients that have been around since I started in 2006. The rapport that I have with them is amazing, I love it when they come in the shop and always make them feel special. Every day is different. My clients are the main reason for that. Whether I am meeting someone new, making a sale or just shooting the breeze with old clients, it just makes your day fly by.”
Jeanne continues, “I love the independence that Minuteman Press has given me. There aren’t a lot of people who can say they love their jobs. My saying is: ‘It’s never boring in the print industry.’ Printing is always evolving and leading us to offer new products and services to help our clients and get the job done, and I love that.”
Jeanne’s advice to others is similar to Karen and Valerie, as she states, “Take the risk. You will never know the outcome of your efforts unless you actually try it. If I had never opened my business, I would have regretted not trying. There’s no doubt that running a business takes a lot of time.
“The only way to be satisfied in your life is to do work that you truly love and believe in.”
She continues, “Everything has a beginning. Success will not be handed to you. Be ready to invest time in your new business. Building a successful business takes a lot of work and a lot of persistence. There is also great pride in building it. Just this week during a busy day, I looked around and every machine in the shop was humming and employees were busy completing jobs. I said to myself, ‘I did this, I built this business by myself.’ A lot of pride comes out of that.
“I have come a really long way on a long road to success. While I feel proud of my accomplishments at this point, I know there is always growing and building to be done.”
For more information about Minuteman Press in Pawtucket, visit https://www.minutemanpawt.com.
From Medicine to Printing: How Helen Andromalos Found Her Calling with Minuteman Press in Middletown
Helen Andromalos worked in the medical field as a specialist in Nuclear Cardiology at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket and Hawthorn Medical in North Dartmouth, Rhode Island. After she was laid off because of unforeseen circumstances due to a worldwide radioactive shortage, Helen was looking to take back control of her career. She says, “I listened to money-talk radio on the way to my job every day and they talked about people having to reinvent themselves when they found themselves out of a job in this down economy. I never considered what I would do if I ever lost my job because I didn’t imagine it as possible.”
After trying her hand at flipping houses, Helen was looking for “something more consistent and I absolutely wanted to be my own boss. I just did not know how to do it.”
After a year of looking into different franchises, Helen found Minuteman Press. She says, “I researched franchises and some needed me to own several locations before making any money and some had royalty fees that were absurd. About a year later, I came across Minuteman Press International and what they offered seemed too good to be true so I continued my research. I called around the country and talked to many different franchisees, and I asked them if the good things I learned about the company were true and that was very helpful.
“Every single one said, ‘Yes’ and that they would buy their Minuteman Press franchise again.”
Being in Rhode Island, Helen came to find that two of her friends from years ago—Valerie Chanoux and Karen Fraielli—were already Minuteman Press franchisees. Helen says, “I used to hang out with Valerie and Karen. All this time, I was still looking for a job as my job paid very well and had nice hours. I had a very tall list of high standards to be filled because that’s what I was used to professionally.
“Valerie and Karen confirmed all the positive points I was skeptical about, so I met with Ron Rubin, Regional Vice President and bought my franchise in Middletown.”
Helen opened a brand-new Minuteman Press franchise in Middletown (Aquidneck Island) in 2011 and she earned the trust of her community. She credits her medical background for helping her build her business, saying, “My medical background helps my customer service because when someone is sick, you do not turn them away or tell them to come back at another time. I simply say yes, we can help you. It is what I have always done, and it is what we do here at Minuteman Press.”
Ron Rubin shares his admiration and respect for Helen, saying, “I am very proud of Helen, she joined the Minuteman Press family having come from the medical field with no experience in the print industry. She followed our proven business model of providing excellent customer service, producing high quality work, and getting involved in the community. This has made Helen the premier marketing service provider on Aquidneck Island/Middletown.
For more information about Minuteman Press in Middletown, visit https://www.middletown-ri.minutemanpress.com.
How Kimberly Sherman-Leon Transitioned from Minuteman Press Employee to Franchisee in Johnston
As a dedicated entrepreneur, wife, and mother of three children, Kimberly Sherman-Leon does it all. Kimberly previously worked for the Minuteman Press franchise that she now owns and operates, taking over the business in 2016 from retiring owners Linda and Dave Buttery, who owned the franchise for 17 years.
She says, “I worked at Minuteman Press in Johnston as a Senior Designer and Store Production Manager for five years, and it was one of the best work experiences I ever had. It was very hard work and I always needed to stay on my toes and be sharp no matter how many jobs I was doing at once, but working at Minuteman Press helped me grow as a person, learn the business, expand my skillsets, and become a very well-rounded professional.
“I am very grateful to have had that experience and two great employers to work for.”
Today, Kimberly is approaching three years as the owner of the franchise. She says, “We offer everything to help build and promote your business from brand identity development, print on paper, and promotional products to mail stream and digital platforms. We take every idea and bring it to life in whatever format our clients need!”
“I have worked for corporate companies and it doesn’t even compare.”
When asked about the most rewarding thing about owning her business, Kimberly lights up and answers, “I always liked working for myself. I am a creative person and an entrepreneur. We can’t be locked in a ‘box.’ We need to breathe and move around outside our limits and reach for the sky. Working for someone else is okay but it wasn’t something I would settle for. It was a steady paycheck and it allowed me to build my empire on the side without worrying about money.
“Yes, I have been sleep deprived many times running on coffee and few hours of sleep and let’s not forget I have three children and a husband! But I wouldn’t change it for anything!”
How does Kimberly successfully manage her business and family lives? She explains, “People would ask me, ‘How do you do it?’ I just say put a Nike symbol on me, I just do it! I have passion and drive and I am determined to achieve my goals and ambitions I have for myself. I can now say I feel accomplished and that I am happy where I am because this is where I belong. If there is one thing I learned on my journey in life, everything comes full circle, it all happens when it does for a reason. This opportunity came at this time in my life because it was the right time!
“Working for myself is wonderful, fulfilling and rewarding. I have worked for corporate companies and it doesn’t even compare.”
For Kimberly, owning her very own Minuteman Press franchise means she can continue to make a difference in Johnston and advocate for both a community and an industry she loves equally. She says, “Giving back to the community is very important! I am very involved in giving back, lecturing at networking events and classrooms in high schools and colleges. I work with interns and students from all areas. I am on the Board with a few schools and printing industry organizations in Rhode Island. I am an advocate for this industry. For a better idea, you can visit my Web site for Rhode Island Creative Magazine which is a magazine I publish for the creative arts community in Rhode Island!”
Ron Rubin praises Kimberly, saying, “Kimberly is very driven to succeed and make a positive impact on her customers. She follows the program, offers great customer service, and is very engaging with her clients. They trust her, and she does a fantastic job meeting their business needs.”
As for others who are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur or owning a Minuteman Press franchise, Kimberly offers these words of advice: “Stick with it, don’t give up, it all takes time! Breathe, take one thing at a time and it will all come together. Keep going, keep building, always look forward and upward!”
To learn more about Minuteman Press in Johnston, visit https://www.minmanri.com.