Helen Andromalos never makes hasty moves, a trait that has served more than just her personal gain over the years. Her approach to problem-solving is thoughtful, calculated and backed by proven methods. It is her nature to find the greatest assurance of triumph over troubles.
Perhaps such a logical mind is honed further from a career in nuclear medicine. Helen collected years of experience as a specialist in Nuclear Cardiology and helped facilitate research in Cardiology perfusion scans with the use of Dobutamine in patients with reactive airway disease at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, RI that resulted in a white paper published and accepted at Cannes, France. The people she cared for were right to count upon her and she felt right to count upon the steadfast reputation of a career in science, but something unthinkable happened.
Helen says, “I left Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, RI and eventually went to Hawthorn medical in North Dartmouth. There was a radioactive material shortage because Canada’s reactor went down and I needed to conduct twelve stress tests a day but could not. Fifty-percent of USA daily radioactive material needs came from that reactor and as a result, I was laid off. I couldn’t go to another state or even another country for a job. The crisis affected the world.” A professional plot twist that defied logic was met with Helen’s profound ability to gather data and put a new, stronger story together, one that put her in charge.
“I listened to money-talk radio on the way to my job every day, as they talked about people having to reinvent themselves when they found themselves out of a job in this down economy. Never considering, I’d lose my own job in the medical field. I considered what I would do if I ever lost my job and I had no answer because I didn’t imagine it as possible.” As Helen explored new earning possibilities, she didn’t jump immediately to franchise ownership. “Housing and construction is a passion of mine, so I considered flipping houses, but when I pursued this, the foreclosures did not go through properly and the deals fell apart. I wanted something more consistent and absolutely wanted to be my own boss. I just did not know how to do it.”
Her knack for finding the right method included meticulous study and patience. “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.”
Good news about Minuteman Press got better when Helen found out that friends from years ago were franchise owners themselves. “I used to hang out with Valerie (Chanoux) and Karen (Fraielli), owners of Minuteman Press in Warwick, RI. 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.”
As the owner of a brand new Minuteman Press franchise, Helen attended corporate training and opened her doors knowing there was a lot of work ahead of her and she was undeterred by naysayers.
In the beginning, she was also confronted with the extremely high standard of her community, one that was not shy about sharing their predictions about her potential for success. She explains, “My center is on an island and people here are tough on performance and have a very high standard and like to keep their business dealings local. When I was new, they would wonder out loud about how long I would remain open. It was a little funny because in my job, no one questioned my ability to stick needles in their arms with radioactive material, but here, they were challenging my ability to print their business cards. It was intimidating, but thankfully, I am a perfectionist and I intended to make them happy. Recently, I won an award for excellence in business. It was a way to say, respectfully, ‘See? I am not going anywhere’ to all of Newport County.”
She acknowledges her current employees fondly, “I have a great staff that includes Ben, a graphic artist here for two years. I constantly get compliments on him and have clients that say they come specifically for him. I also have a production specialist, Taylor, who is new but he is very detail-oriented, a trait I love.”
Minuteman Press Regional Vice President, Ron Rubin, adds his admiration and respect to the story. He says, “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 giving good service, good quality and getting involved in the community that our Franchise owners serve! This has made Helen the premier marketing service provider on Acquidneck Island (aka Middletown, RI). In February, 2018, I was honored to attend the Newport Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting, where Helen was presented the Small Business Excellence award. This award and honor was well deserved!”
Minuteman Press in Middletown continues to gather loyal clients. Their partnership with The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center is a perfect example. And for Helen, it’s personal…
“There was a time I nearly turned to The Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center for help, but now, I am in a position to help them. Everyone needs good food and exercise, so one of the things we do is help them spread that message,” Helen shares.
The community center with a most respected name remains thankful for their longstanding relationship with Helen and her staff. “They are a community food bank and a wonderful resource for people on many levels. I enjoy doing work for my non-profit clients and in fact, I volunteer for the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and am a donor, too,” Helen explains.
There are many events to keep families engaged and individuals inspired and Minuteman Press in Middletown takes care of promoting all of them. Helen says, “They have a Santa workshop that invites people to come in and Christmas shop for their children. All the gifts are divided into categories and volunteers take the parents around to shop.”
Of course, in addition to rolling up her sleeves and getting involved with the good work of her friends at the MLK Jr. center, Helen is also entrusted with their brand and makes certain they look fantastic in print. “We take care of all of their invitations, brochures, appeals for donations, annual reports and even booklets that help provide the community with education about health and nutrition. As needed, we provide expert editing and fix files they send to make sure they look perfect.”
And as perfectionism is second-nature to Helen, it reflects in the work of Minuteman Press of Middletown and results in referrals to others. “They introduced me to the contact person at our YMCA and that facility just got a brand new pool, so we produced all the signage for the pool area, meeting all branding guidelines through the entire process. We now design everything for them, too, including branded apparel.”
“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. People know they can count on us.” – Helen Andromalos
Alyson Novick is the Director of Development for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center and her praise for Minuteman Press is genuine. “Helen and her team have been more than just a printer and design resource for us. In addition to providing excellent service with a quick turnaround time, she is a source of continued support through corporate donations and is a valued member of the Portsmouth Rotary Club. She also leverages her professional and personal relationships to find new friends willing to support the center.”
In sincerity and with appreciation, Alyson concludes, “Helen and Minuteman Press really embody the idea of being a good corporate citizen. She has even volunteered at my events, so I’d say she is the entire package. She is a wonderful friend, not just to our center, but to the whole community.”