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Cash Course

Eileen Rogers, 41
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Allegra Print & Imaging

When Eileen Rogers first entered the Allegra Print & Imaging center in Scottsdale, Arizona, her only intention was to make copies of her resume. A recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Rogers had just moved to Arizona and was looking for employment.

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The then-owner of the center was looking for a salesperson and partner to help grow the company, and Rogers fit the bill. She began working at the center and, within a short time, set up a sweat equity agreement to earn a percentage of the business. "If I got sales up to a certain level in a certain amount of time, I could buy 10 percent, and then I had an option on the next 10 percent," Rogers explains. She continued accruing percentages of the business until 1996, when she bought out the remainder of her aging partner's shares.

When Rogers began working at the center, there were a few things she needed to learn. "I didn't know the difference between printing and copying, or anything about the technical or production aspect of the company," she explains. "What I did know was I enjoyed helping people, and sales are very natural for me."

Rogers did learn how to operate the technical side of the business, and though she now focuses on her sales and customer relations strengths, "understanding the production process turns out to be an advantage at this point," she says. "I no longer have to do it, but I'm able to relate with the staff that does."

"What I've built is not so much a graphic design and printing company. What I've built is a vehicle for my life."

Rogers is also pleased to relate to the people and organizations within her community. Each year, her Allegra center makes donations of supplies and printing services to local charities and nonprofit organizations. In 1999, the store created the Baby Drive, a holiday event that collects diapers and other baby products for homeless families and domestic violence victims. Last year, $14,000 worth of items, including 20,000 diapers, were collected. This year, the store is hoping to collect 50,000 diapers.

Rogers was given the Athena Award last year by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. "That was probably the moment in my career when I felt the most successful," she says. "Being recognized by peers and others in the community for not only being a good businessperson, but mentoring women and serving the community, that's such a big part of my life in this company."

And Rogers is grateful for the lifestyle this $1.65-million-grossing franchise has awarded her, including a recent trip to Chile and two dogs, three cats and a fish. "What I've built is not so much a graphic design and printing company," she says. "What I've built is a vehicle for my life."

Contact Sources

  • Servpro of Champaign-Urbana
    3813 N. Cunningham, Urbana, IL 61802
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This article was originally published in the August 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Cash Course.

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