Nancy Solomon started her business 23 years ago with a little sewing machine in the bedroom of her Lake Zurich home and the skill of sewing taught to her by her mother years ago.
While raising four sons and running a licensed day care, she started a part-time venture, Elegant Embroidery, with the idea that she could sew patches on Boy Scout and sports uniforms as well as tackle some decorating projects.
Two years later, she went full time with the business. As it grew over more than two decades, Solomon altered the focus and name of the company to meet the needs of customers. The Barrington resident added screen printing and promotional products to the mix and renamed it Melon Ink Screen Print. She now has an embroidery machine with 14 heads and an automatic eight-color screen printing press, as well as a six-color manual screen printing press.
Solomon, who also has a background in computer sales, has expanded the physical location of the business three times, recently celebrating the grand opening of the most recent move to a 4,000-square-foot space on Oakwood Road in Lake Zurich, next to the space she has operated for the last 11 years.
Solomon has an array of customers, from schools and sports teams where uniforms and spirit wear are the focus, to business customers where promotional products are key. "We put life in your logo," is a motto at the company. "We also do retail. It's a mixed bag," said Solomon, 58, adding that they print shirts for class reunions, wedding parties and other events.
Several years ago, the business expanded when Solomon purchased Brainstorm Marketing in Lake Zurich. "It was a beautiful merger," Solomon jokes, as she married the company's founder, Brian Solomon, about three years ago. He now serves as national sales manager at Melon Ink.
Nancy Solomon, who is very active in networking in the community, said if she had to give a tip to someone just starting a business, she would say, "You have to love your product. You have to love what you do or sell."
A lesson she has learned over the years is to listen to your intuition. "You have to spend money to make money. But if something doesn't feel right, then don't do it," said Solomon, who calls herself a conservative businesswoman.
Solomon said that her mom encouraged her to start the business years ago. And now her youngest son, Andrew Malinowski, serves as the general manager at the eight-employee business. Growing up, Melon was Andrew's nickname, based on his last name. The entrepreneur said that is how the business name came about. She added that her son is expected to take over the business when she retires in several years.
Copresco, a digital printing pioneer in the graphic communications industry, is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
When the company opened for business in a one-room Wheaton office in 1987, there was no email or smartphones and desktop publishing was in its infancy. Offset printing was king. Large printers running massive four-color jobs made the headlines in graphic arts media.
Copresco President Steve Johnson believed that the future of printing was in digital technology and formed an organization specializing in the overnight printing of books and publications. "We were one of the very first companies to use digital imaging technology for book manufacturing," Johnson says.
The company's digital presses produce millions of impressions for a diverse range of clients. Projects include catalogs, training manuals, textbooks, directories, calendars, cookbooks, planograms, workbooks, booklets and yearbooks.
Short-run, on-demand paperback books are an expanding market, he says.
Inland Real Estate Acquisitions Inc. based in Oak Brook said that it facilitated the acquisitions of four medical office buildings, located in North Carolina, Texas and Utah, for a combined total of nearly 119,000 square feet of commercial real estate. Matthew Tice, senior vice president of Inland Real Estate Acquisitions Inc., facilitated the transactions on behalf of an Inland affiliate.
"These newly constructed medical office buildings have well-established tenants and are ideally located within their respective regions, making them a prime example of the type of acquisitions we continue to seek out in our health care product line," Tice said.
To date, Inland Real Estate Acquisitions Inc. facilitated more than $44 billion of purchases including retail centers, apartments, single-tenant properties and a total of nearly $200 million in medical office buildings.
In my March 20 column, I incorrectly stated that Carrie Matlock, who is taking on the role of president of DLA Architects, is the daughter of founder Bruce Dahlquist, who retired in mid-February. I regret this error.