2013 Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence

SCORE guidance helps Pawtucket printing company grow

     Jeanne Salisbury grew up in a family that had a strong work ethic.  She was taught at an early age that you had to work hard to get what you want.  Don’t wait for a handout.  Words that, decades later, Jeanne continues to live by.

     While her five children were in school, Jeanne worked part time at her sister-in-law’s printing company in North Providence.  Over the 14 years that she worked there, Salisbury learned a lot about the printing business.  In 2006, after battling health issues, she bought into a Minuteman Press printing franchise and opened her business on Central Avenue in Pawtucket.

     Minuteman Press is a full-service printing company that not only specializes in printing services, but also copying, document reproduction, and graphic design services.

     The first few years were challenging. The economy began its nosedive and with it went her sales. Jeanne hired salespersons, but they didn’t work out.  Financially her business hit rock bottom in late 2009 and 2010.  Jeanne couldn’t pay her bills and it looked more and more like bankruptcy was a real possibility.  She wasn’t going to go down without a fight.  She had invested too much time and money into establishing her own small business.  She needed some guidance and turned to the U.S. Small Business Administration for help.

     SBA Rhode Island District Office referred her to the local SCORE chapter for counseling and assistance.  SCORE is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs seeking guidance in starting and growing their businesses.  The counselors are experienced, successful business owners and managers who want to give back to the community.

     Steve Gareau, a counselor at the Providence SBA office, was assigned to meet with Jeanne.  Their first meeting lasted three hours.  He shared some creative ideas that Jeanne used to improve her business operations.

     Gareau said he helps entrepreneurs figure out what they want to do.  Focus, stick to the plan, and be diligent he tells them. Gareau calls it the “funneling effect.”  Ideas are dumped into an imaginary funnel and what comes out is a more focused view of the direction that should be taken.

     He believes what the entrepreneur feels in their heart and mind is the strength of their direction.

     Jeanne said Gareau’s “pep talk” lit a fire under her. She adopted his suggestions that she hire a salesperson, improve the storefront’s signage, ramp up marketing and extend her hours of operation.

      Within two months her sales had doubled and have grown over 600 percent since that first meeting with Steve Gareau. Jeanne now has three fulltime employees and several on-call part timers, including a salesperson.

     Jeanne Salisbury’s business is curtained primed for future growth.  This August will mark her seventh anniversary as a business owner.  She recognizes the significance of moving beyond the “start-up” phase of her business and is confident that she will celebrate many more business anniversaries in the future.

     The U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to join with the Rhode Island SCORE chapter to honor Jeanne F. Salisbury, president of minuteman Press of Pawtucket, with the 2013 Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

 The Joseph G.E. Knight Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence was created to honor the memory of Joseph G.E. Knight, who passed away in October 2005 at the age of 96.  Mr. Knight was one of the founders of SCORE in 1964.  He served as the association’s national chair in 1977 and 1978.  The Joseph G.E. Knight SCORE Chapter 13 in Providence is the only SCORE chapter in the nation named in honor of an individual.   

     Mr. Knight dedicated more than 35 years to helping countless entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership through his sage mentoring and expert advice.  This award is presented annually to an entrepreneur who has exemplified the highest ideals of business achievement.

Minuteman Press