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posted: 12/11/2016 1:00 AM

Wheaton family learns basics of being a small business

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  • Bill Zeuch, front, sits with his daughter Lauren, 8, left, wife Janice, son Nathan and daughter Gretchen. They all learned about business, from developing a product, to selling and shipping, over the last two years.

    Bill Zeuch, front, sits with his daughter Lauren, 8, left, wife Janice, son Nathan and daughter Gretchen. They all learned about business, from developing a product, to selling and shipping, over the last two years.
    COURTESY OF ALBUM MOUNT/COMIC MOUNT

  • Bill Zeuch, right, poses with his wife Janice, left, son Nathan, daughter Lauren and daughter Gretchen. They are holding a plastic mount device that can be used for comic books or record albums.

    Bill Zeuch, right, poses with his wife Janice, left, son Nathan, daughter Lauren and daughter Gretchen. They are holding a plastic mount device that can be used for comic books or record albums.
    COURTESY OF ALBUM MOUNT/COMIC MOUNT

  • The Zeuch family in Wheaton started a small business as a learning tool for their children. But it turned out to be a hit with customers on Amazon and eBay.

    The Zeuch family in Wheaton started a small business as a learning tool for their children. But it turned out to be a hit with customers on Amazon and eBay.
    COURTESY OF ALBUM MOUNT/COMIC MOUNT

  • The Zeuch family in Wheaton started a small business just as a learning tool for their children. They designed, manufacturer and sell wall mounts for comic books and record albums.

    The Zeuch family in Wheaton started a small business just as a learning tool for their children. They designed, manufacturer and sell wall mounts for comic books and record albums.
    COURTESY OF ALBUM MOUNT/COMIC MOUNT

  • Lyn Edmonson

    Lyn Edmonson

  • David Cunningham

    David Cunningham

  • John Wesolowski

    John Wesolowski

 

Wheaton resident Bill Zeuch, a chief operating officer for a consumer electronics company in Chicago, wanted to teach his three children on how businesses run.

What started as a life lesson has turned into a lucrative business called Album Mount/Comic Mount consisting of plastic devices that allow you to mount a vinyl album cover or comic book to a wall without a frame. They are sold on eBay and Amazon as well as their company websites: Comicmount.com and albummount.com.

"We come from humble backgrounds, my wife (Janice) and I, and our children are living a good life," he said. "But we wanted to teach them more about life and business and how to get that fire in their bellies."

In 2014, the idea for the mounts started when Bill and Janice wanted an artistic way to hang some colorful comic books on the wall. They felt they had a good idea for a plastic mount that was barely seen and allowed more of the comic to show on the wall without a frame. They felt they had a good idea and decided to build a business around the mount.

Bill withdrew about $44,000 from his children's college funds to start the business. He used the money to hire a lawyer to properly set up the company, hire a graphic artist and a website maintenance firm. He then bought the materials and had the product made by a company in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The mount began selling online for $5.99.

His wife Janice of 22 years, son Nathan, 17, daughters Gretchen, 15, and Lauren, 8, all pitched in with various tasks, from taking and fulfilling orders to packaging and shipping products to consumers.

Nathan, who has been starting to apply to colleges, has been using the experience as part of an essay submitted with his college applications. He's seeking to earn a bachelor's degree in business, Bill said.

Janice, who has her own business as a water color artist specializing in portraits of homes, oversees the children at home, while Bill goes to his regular full-time job during the day. They've all enjoyed working on the business and have been discussing ideas for new products.

The first full year of sales were $150,000 and even more is expected for this second year.

Since opening nearly two years ago, the home-based business has sold about 66,000 mounts, Bill said.

They also quickly paid back the children's college funds in full.

"I was teaching the kids that a successful company could pay off its debt in two to three years, and we did in less time, so we believe we have something here," he said.

FastTracks

•Neil Sant is the new chief operating officer at Klein Hall CPAs in Aurora. He started his career as a producer and on air with the Danny Bonaduce Show on the LOOP in Chicago.

•Lyn M. Edmonson of Naperville is the new associate veterinarian at West suburban Veterinary Associates in Westmont. She specializes in preventive care, internal medicine, surgery and diagnostic medicine.

•David Cunningham, founder of Wondertucky Distillery & Bottling Inc. in Woodstock, said he's excited to see the next step in his business plan coming to fruition. A new tasting room is now under construction at his distillery. He also added new retail partner Jewel-Osco. Stores in McHenry and Woodstock will sell his products.

•Ken Mariotti, president of Woodland Windows & Doors in Roselle, said the company has been named Dealer of the Year by Window & Door Magazine.

•Jude Marchetti is the new assistant managing broker of the Elmhurst, Naperville and Glen Ellyn offices of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Koenig Rubloff Realty Group.

•John Wesolowski, a veteran real estate professional from Naperville, has joined the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Naperville.

•There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people who make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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