Candid feedback changed Jeanie Moore’s life for the better. When working for the state back in 1975, she worked with Modern Litho Printing on a printing project for a book. When it was finally done, she gave the owner of the printing company her thoughts on how to keep getting better, especially if they wanted to stay in business for the long haul.
That candor and competitive spirit compelled the owner to offer Jeanie a job on his team, which she declined several times. However, one Sunday at church, she heard God speak to her and say, “I am trying to bless your family, but you keep saying no.” She asked God for one more chance and called the owner of Modern Litho the next morning. He said he was glad she called because he had decided not to call her again.
This open door would be life-changing for Jeanie, the start of a long career at Modern Litho that went from payroll clerk to office manager to general manager to president and then, finally, to business owner in 1993 when she bought the company.
Buying the company was a family decision that two of her children, Darrell Moore and Darla Porter, remember discussing as a whole family prior to the purchase.
“We had a family retreat before our mom and dad bought the business where they discussed their dream of continuing it as a family business,” recalls Darla. “They also asked us to commit to never tearing the family apart over a family business. We’ve navigated that very well.”
Darrell, who is now president of Modern Litho, and Darla, president of Brown Printing (also part of Modern Litho), have continued that family legacy after their mom officially retired. The business has continued to grow each year, with locations in Jefferson City, Kansas City, and St. Louis, and family members are still an integral part of the business. It’s a family legacy both Darrell and Darla continue to pay forward.
“The difference between a family business and a paycheck is you bear the benefits, but you also carry all the burdens,” says Darrell. “This business is 82 years old and we continue the legacy because we have 300 employees counting on us.”
Both have learned so much about business from their mom — Darla’s volunteer spirit and Darrell’s competitive nature, for example — and they have also carried on Jeanie’s openness to new ideas, especially when dreaming big about business. It was her foundation of faith, however, that has been a defining part of their history and their future.
“Faith is a huge part of my parent’s legacy. She would say God has a plan for you. It’s up to you to seek and follow,” says Darla. “Faith is the foundation of our business. We always try to do the right thing for our customers and employees.”
“Learn as much as you can and always be grateful.”— Darla Porter
“Being a business owner can consume you. Your work and life can get out of balance. I try to tell young people to not get out of balance.”— Darrell Moore