JOHNSTON, R.I. - The Minuteman Press franchise in Johnston, RI recently held its grand re-opening event and ribbon-cutting ceremony that officially welcomed new owner Kimberly Sherman-Leon to the Johnston business community. Kimberly took over the design, print, and marketing center located at 1999 Plainfield Pike in November 2016 from retiring owners Linda and Dave Buttery, who owned and operated the business for 17 years.
Minuteman Press is the modern printing industry, offering essential products and services that meet the needs of today's business professionals. "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," notes Kimberly. She continues, "We take every idea and bring it to life in whatever format our clients need!"
Meet Kimberly Sherman-Leon and Family
Kimberly Sherman-Leon is a dedicated entrepreneur, wife, and mother of three children ages 17, 13 and 4. She previously worked at the Minuteman Press franchise in Johnston, RI as a graphic designer before venturing out to start a design business of her own. When Linda and Dave Buttery were ready to retire after 17 years in business, Kimberly jumped at the opportunity to take over a business that she put her heart into and truly loved.
"I worked at Minuteman Press in Johnston as a Senior Designer and Store Production Manager for 5 years and it was one of the best work experiences I ever had," says Kimberly. She adds, "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."
Kimberly is also thankful for her husband Jorge's support and is excited to begin this new chapter for her family. She says, "My family is very excited and my oldest children remember me working there and can’t believe we own it now. They look forward to being part of it. My youngest just loves the print shop! She is learning how to makes copies, print from the computer, use some of the smaller bindery machines and very interested in the offset press! She even goes in the lobby and talks to the customers! Let’s just say she is a mini me!"
She adds, "My husband is very supportive of everything I do. We have been together for 20 years and he has been nothing but supportive. I am just very excited that we can do this together. He will join in the business later as he still works at AutoZone (18 years and counting). But he comes every day after work to help, learn, make deliveries, and start taking on the management role. It is all exciting!"
From Entrepreneur to Franchise Owner
Kimberly Sherman-Leon left her position at Minuteman Press in Johnston in 2008 to venture out on her own as an entrepreneur. She explains, "I had my own design business on the side (as most designers do) called KS Designs, LLC and it was growing rapidly. So I took the leap to work for myself full time. During this time, I grew tremendously as a person and as a professional. I still worked with [Minuteman Press] owners Dave and Linda and brought a lot of my print work there through the years up to the very day he asked if I would be interested in taking over the business since they wanted to retire."
In November 2016, the time had come for Dave and Linda Buttery to retire, and so they asked Kimberly if she was still interested in taking over the business. Kimberly didn't hesitate, saying, "I was always business-oriented and at this time, I was looking for a storefront to grow my design/print/digital/publishing agency. It was all timing and a blessing! It worked out. When I left in 2008, I told Dave that if he ever decides to sell, to contact me because who knows where I will be at that time. Timing is everything!"
Training and Support from Minuteman Press
After buying the business, Kimberly attended Minuteman Press International's two-week training program at their world headquarters in Farmingdale, NY. She also receives ongoing local support from the company right here in Johnston. Says Kimberly, "During training, I really enjoyed being in a room with like-minded business people and being surrounded by print! It felt like where I belonged and enjoyed learning all of the business materials needed. It was very motivating. I get a lot of support from Dave and Linda, the previous owners, on a weekly basis. I also get tremendous support from Ed Connelly, the Minuteman Press field representative for the area and Ron Rubin, Minuteman Press International's New England Regional Vice President.
The grand re-opening event for Minuteman Press in Johnston was attended by community members, friends, and family. Mayor Joseph Polisena was on hand to welcome Kimberly to the Johnston business community and Minuteman Press RVP Ron Rubin attended to show his continued support for Kimberly as well. She says, "The grand re-opening was wonderful! We had the best day of the week. Cold and rainy on Monday and Tuesday, 65 degrees on Wednesday for our Grand Re-Opening day, and then we had a snowstorm the very next day with freezing temperatures in the teens. We were definitely lucky!"
Kimberly continues, "On our beautiful day, we had local businesses who we do printing with contribute food, desserts and coffee. This helps bring the community together and celebrate small businesses! Our local sign company installed our new storefront sign and window graphics. We had a small crowd witness the ceremony and it was a very proud moment for my husband and me."
"I have worked for corporate companies and it doesn’t even compare."
When asked about the most rewarding thing about owning her business, Kimberly Sherman-Leon lights up before she 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 3 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."
Making a Positive Impact in the Community
For Kimberly Sherman-Leon, 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 RI. I am an advocate for this industry. For a better idea, you can visit my website for Rhode Island Creative Magazine which is a magazine I publish for the creative arts community in RI!"
Business Goals and Advice for Others
In Kimberly's own words, a typical day for her is "very busy" and "non-stop," which is not surprising considering all she has already accomplished as an entrepreneur, wife, and mom. She is far from done, however, and has plenty of new goals to strive for as she continues to work on her business. She says, "My goals are to finish the transition, get organized, build a marketing strategy and hopefully grow the businesses a little more from last year. Most importantly, I will be creating a day to day work flow that is feasible for me and my staff since I am a one-person owner at this time."
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 up!"
These are wise words from a remarkable modern businesswoman.