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 20 years, Karen Fraielli and Valerie Chanoux have been business partners. They have owned and operated their Minuteman Press franchise in Warwick 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, Valerie and one press operator. Today, we have a staff of 10, 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 18 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 20 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 15 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.”