by Joshua Jerome
Downtown Barre is home to several young entrepreneurs and one of them, CW Print + Design (formerly known as Copy World) in particular, has been instrumental in providing services to many Barre businesses. Started in 1994 by Diane Fontana, Copy World catered to businesses and individuals looking for basic copying and print work and remained a one-person shop until 2009 when Diane looked to sell the business. Diane’s niece, Mollie Lannen was living in Chittenden County and was already a partner in the web developer, Eternity Marketing, and looked at CW as an opportunity to leverage her existing professional background and be able to offer the central Vermont community diversified services. Also important was keeping the business in the family, so Lannen and her mother, Linda Aschnewitz, purchased the business from Diane in 2009.
Entrepreneurism runs in Lannen’s family going back several decades with Brault Engraving, and her roots in Barre are deep. As a student at Spaulding High School, Lannen enjoyed working on the school newspaper and headed off to St. Michael’s College to study journalism. After her first year she realized that it was not writing she was passionate about, but more the design and layout. She took some time off and began working at Eternity Marketing with her now husband, Mike Lannen. The young start-up was a good fit for Lannen as she was able to incorporate her passion for design into the work of Eternity, but eventually decided to go back to school and continue working at Eternity on the side.
In 2007, Lannen became a full business partner at Eternity and Mike and Mollie leveraged each other’s talents to grow the business to have locations in Barre and Burlington with several employees. This experience and her passion for Barre was the impetus that drove her decision to partner with her mother and purchase CW from her aunt. The new owners added additional services and upgraded their technology to accommodate more of their customers’ needs. Just two years later, Lannen was recognized as the 2011 Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
In 2012, CW moved into their current space at 59 North Main St. essentially doubling their previous space. The larger storefront right in the heart of downtown allowed Lannen to increase their office supplies where they have over 1,000 items. Recently, Mollie re-branded the business name from Copy World to CW Print + Design to reflect the breadth of services offered. The family-owned business has learned to compete with traditional box stores by matching pricing on toner and allowing customers to order right through CW’s website. CW Print + Design offers printing services for a variety of items from holiday cards and calendars to self-publishing soft and hard cover books, faxing, scanning, late hours and convenient parking. Lannen explained to me that her joy comes from working with clients who have an idea, but don’t know what direction to go in and by working with the eight CW Print + Design employees, who can take an idea to the next level.
It’s not just Lannen’s entrepreneurial spirit that makes her such a unique individual. Her passion for the Barre community has driven her to participate on The Barre Partnership board, working towards the revitalization of downtown Barre and was also the Barre Heritage Festival director from 2011 to 2014. In 2014, Mollie and Mike welcomed their daughter, Claire, into the world and take great pride in participating in community events like the Summer Concert Series at Currier Park. Lannen expressed to me how enthusiastic she is for downtown Barre’s revitalization and looks forward to working with new businesses that come into the community.
The author is the executive director of The Barre Partnership