Invested in the success of her clients and future of her community, Sherri Winslow is a living example of a strong woman and business owner.
Sherri Winslow did not intend to buy a business, but she has been a business owner for more than 15 years. It wasn’t that her career that began as an auditor and concluded as Deputy Director of the Washington State Gambling commission was dissatisfying. Yet the grueling three-hour commute her promotion pinned to her days was unappealing. “I left my position and the commute from Olympia to Seattle and decided it was time to move to California with my now late husband, Richard.” It was Richard who sought out and found a Minuteman Press franchise for sale, one that had been in business for 15 years, but was not as “big” as it is today, thanks to the Winslows’ commitment to honoring the brand as well as their investment. They bought Minuteman Press in Palm Desert, CA in 2002 and the venture they began together with great care is one Sherri boldly continues in Richard’s honor and to the benefit of their community.
There is a “feel good” air about Sherri’s center and it is apparent when people walk through her door for assistance with projects that range from design to print and digital marketing. “I have six employees: Melissa handles the front end of the operation, two designers, Nick and Jim, a customer service specialist who helps with bindery, Sue, my production expert, Matthew, and an employee best described as a “jack-of-all-trades”, Llyod. If we have a rush order, it would be common for everyone to come together and work on it so the customer’s expectations are always met. We may all be collating, folding inserts or anything that may require us to work as a team. We are very much like a family, with ups and downs that we are committed to work out.”
Her clients are the benefactors of the dedication Minuteman Press Palm Dessert maintains collectively and the rewards are evident through loyalty and feedback. “I think the biggest feel-good moments I have are when our customers come back in and tell us how great we were on a job they needed and they are so obviously pleased. Sometimes, we pull rabbits out of hats that don’t seem possible to pull, but we do it for them. Their appreciation is very gratifying.”
A lot of professionals seem to feel a lack of true connection their marketing services providers when it comes to furthering their business opportunities. Minuteman Press franchise owners proclaim, ‘We Are The Modern Printing Industry’ for reasons that go beyond the latest technology and capabilities. They preserve personal service and Sherri is among those leading the charge. She says, “I think there is room to focus on cost as well as personalized service in the B2B Industry. I can tell you we personalize our approach to make certain everyone gets exactly what they need, even if they are not sure, at first, what that may be. They have a job to get done and we come in with a reasonable quote, but make sure they get what they need to promote their message.”
Sherri continues with a note about real connections. “Just yesterday, a woman was showing our staff photos of her 1st grandbaby and people regularly bring their dogs to visit us while we help them with their projects.” It is the kind of atmosphere that relaxes stressed-out go-getters who need help, all while being the absolute best around at bringing the job from concept to completion.
This kind of approach carries a reputation that creates trust and draws a crowd and some of that crowd requires the goodwill Sherri carries so naturally. The Coachella Animal Network (CAN) is just one among Sherri’s crowd that benefits from the good work of her Minuteman Press franchise. They provide low-cost spay and neuter clinics specifically for low-income families in Coachella Valley. “We work with them on projects throughout the year. The latest project for CAN is a Calendar for PETS on PARADE, which is a big fundraiser for CAN. We are donating all design work and organizing preparation. I also work with our contact there, Kim Hardee, on the Board of CAN and I am active with organizing projects throughout the year.”
The ways Sherri uses her heart to direct the best use of her digital print, design and marketing services continues from animal welfare to the enrichment of young women through the Women Leaders Forum.
“This is an organization that is focused on fundraising for scholarships for young women preparing for University. We work with them on projects throughout the year. We help sponsor the Women Who Rule Luncheon that is held once a year. I am a member of the organization and have worked as a mentor for a young woman preparing for University. She got into UCLA which was a big thrill for me,” Sherri explains.
There was a specific time when Sherri wished to connect with a women’s business group and make connections in the city. It was during that time, after joining the Women Leaders Forum that the organization realized they had in their midst an expert ally in marketing services through Minuteman Press. “After I joined the group and became active, it simply grew into us doing work for them, starting out with flyers and brochures. Once we got more involved in promoting their cause, they entrusted us with more. Now we provide the programs for their big, annual event at a heavily reduced cost so I can help sponsor their fundraising efforts”.
The big event is called, “Women Who Rule” and it is designed to recognize four women in the area for their achievements. “We printed the program, flyers, postcards and silent auction sheets. We do provide assistance in layout and format as we partner with their own designer.” This year, there was a particular time crunch as the sponsors submitted late information and Sherri’s team got the job the afternoon before the big event. “They gave it to us late afternoon for an event the next day at noon. That was not easy, but we pulled it off and I personally delivered most of the programs.”
Mentorship is one way Minuteman Press franchise owners further the printing industry. Sherri’s commitment to the Women Leaders Forum included an agreement to mentor a young woman with a particular drive to learn all she could about running her own business. “She wanted a mentor with a business background prior to entering her university. I took her to functions run by the forum and helped her learn etiquette for business networking. She was paired with me as a woman business owner and I had her come to our center and we took her through all the functions of a Minuteman Press franchise. I explained to her how I run my business and how some things require more critical attention than others. I gave her a lot to consider if, some day, she wishes to become an entrepreneur.” She adds with no small measure of satisfaction, “I believe I made a difference in the life of the young woman I mentored. I even connected her with an attorney from one of my business clubs to help her put together a strong letter for her UCLA application. The end result of the experience was amazing for both of us and she is now working on her degree.”
Katrina Thomas, Executive Administrator for Women Leaders Forum (WLF) values her partnership with Sherri and the work their two companies are doing together to benefit ambitious women. She says, “Women Leaders Forum (WLF) has been using Minuteman Press – Palm Desert for over 3 years now. I initially met Sherri at a WLF event where she spoke about her company and the services they offered. Shortly thereafter I contacted Sherri about a print estimate that we needed. Not only did they provide a friendly & quick estimate, it was very competitive. That coupled with their convenient location, WLF hired them for the print services. After that first print service, I would not go anywhere else and I always recommend them. WLF is a non-profit whose secondary mission is to provide scholarship awards to local high school graduates, so we have to make every penny count. Sherri & staff have always provided a superior quality product in a reasonable amount of time backed by friendly, yet professional service.”
Generosity of spirit put into real world use is another way Palm Dessert Minuteman Press solidifies community ties. Katrina continues, “Sherri has also donated to Women Leaders Forum’s annual scholarship fundraising event, Women Who Rule. That kind of donation helps offset operational costs which ensures that all money raised during the event can go directly to the WLF Scholarship Fund.”
Sherri and Richard Winslow began this venture together and immersed themselves in the betterment of the community they serve. Today, clearly, Sherri is firmly at the helm of a loving legacy in the form of a healthy, growing Minuteman Press franchise that builds businesses and in many cases, dreams together with many people. Katrina adds with gratitude, “On behalf of Women Leaders Forum, we definitely look forward to continuing our partnership with Sherri and her staff at Minuteman Press. She not only regularly attends the networking and educational events that WLF hosts, she has also been a mentor in our Young Women Leaders Program. As a mentor, Sherri has provided invaluable knowledge and spent at least 10 hours in one-on-one mentoring with a young woman in our YWL program.”
Katrina concludes with optimism, “Minuteman Press helps make doing business and accomplishing our mission – easy! They have always gone out of their way to help us, whether it is a time crunch we’re on or doing something over-the-top with a meager budget. We can’t thank them enough.”