March 29, 2004 

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.—He had the college degree. He had a job with a firm that promoted well. And he left it all. He walked into a new career, new family and challenges he didn’t expect. But today he is the successful entrepreneur of an award-winning printing shop.

    Peter Lineal is the 31-year-old founder and owner of Plum Grove Printers, a Schaumburg-based publishing and printing shop. He is the recent recipient of the Northwest Suburban Association of Commerce and Industry’s “Small Business Person of the Year” award. When he first started the business, however, Lineal was faced with an array of problems to contend with.

    After graduating from college, Lineal found a position with an advertising and printing firm; he gradually grew frustrated with his job, however, and left after having worked there for five years. Deciding to be his own boss, he took a risk and opened his own small business.

    Juggling family and business was not easy for Lineal; with his wife working full-time to help ease the financial burden, he had to assist with taking care of the new baby. “It seems hard to believe when I look back on it, but I used to carry the baby strapped in a Snugli to my chest while I ran the presses and took customer orders,” Lineal recalls. “One day, when I was in the middle of a sales pitch to these women, the baby woke up and was just screaming.”

    Lineal doesn’t have fond memories of his first year as an independent business. “The first year we were in business was pretty grim because we were in a storefront that wasn’t visible from the road,” he explained. He feels that a lot of people who are starting their own small business oftentimes make similar errors, which, as he says knowingly, “can be quite costly.”

    Today, Plum Grove Printers is a thriving business, employing 13 full-time and part-time employees. Lineal is thankful that his profits have risen past the first-year take of $172. He describes profitability as the key to success, explaining, “You’ve got to have a cost-controlled and carefully calculated growth.”

    Lineal’s own business philosophy is consumer-oriented, and he reminds his staff that they are working for the customer, not for him. “If you take care of the customer, he takes care of you,” he reminds everyone. Those customers include people he’d made sales pitches to many years ago—except now, Peter Lineal doesn’t have a screaming infant to contend with.

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