Long before the company became MMIT Business Solutions, Jerry Minor lead a team of dedicated M&M Sales Company employees. Years later, the charismatic, kind, humorous, wise family man and former company president still claim its heart.
Although it may seem logical for a son to run his father’s business, it didn’t start out that way for Jerry. “I was in the Navy for a while,” he said. “I was in Naval ROTC Officer training when [WWII] ended.”
After his time in the Navy, Jerry attended the University of Wisconsin as a chemical engineering student and received his degree in 1948. Upon graduation, he got a job in the research department at Sinclair Oil Company in Chicago. He worked for two years at Sinclair before he decided to make a change.
“That’s what I’d planned to do, be a chemical engineer. I’d always had an interest in chemistry,” he said. “But I decided that Des Moines, Iowa was a better place to live and I could make more money working for my father.”
Jerry also met his late wife, Jackie, while working at Sinclair. She was his boss’s secretary at the time. When they got married, Jerry was 23 and Jackie was 21. It was so long ago that “there was no air conditioning,” Jerry laughed.
So, in 1950, Jerry moved back to Des Moines with Jackie and started working for his father, Gilbert Minor.
Jerry on M&M Sales Co.
Jerry began his time at M&M Sales Co. as a salesman. He was responsible for the sale of several products such as mimeograph machines, time clocks, postal meter machines and blueprint machines, but copiers weren’t in the mix yet. “When I started working there in 1950, there weren’t any copy machines,” Jerry said. “We went through all of World War II without copy machines.”
He explained that his father, Gilbert, worked for a company that manufactured typewriter ribbons and carbon paper. “When people typed letters, they made like six copies at the time they typed the letter,” he said. “They had to have really thin carbon paper in order to insert it between sheets when they typed their letters.”
“The carbon paper is what a copy machine is now,” he added.
Jerry said that his father sold the carbon paper to law offices, courthouses and more. And at that time, the company was a “sole business.” It wasn’t until Gilbert convinced the company to sell their ribbons of carbon paper in Des Moines in 1937 that “the business got started.”
However, Jerry said the company really “got going” in 1952 when a representative from APECO set them up as a photocopy equipment dealer. “Most companies had direct representatives that sold their equipment, but when the Japanese companies came to the United States, they set up dealers in different cities to sell their products,” he mentioned. “That’s how we became a photocopy business.”
Jerry called it a “big change” for the industry and for the company. “We were in the right place at the right time,” he said.
Passing the Torch
Soon, M&M became a corporation and Jerry was named the company’s vice president. He went on to become the president, and he held that position until he turned 65 in 1992. When asked what it was like to pass on the position to his son and current company president, Tom Minor, Jerry shared nothing but grateful words.
“That worked out well. I was fortunate enough to have Tom there to take over so that I could retire without worrying about things. He’d been there for 15 or 20 years already,” he said.
Jerry continued: “It sure was a good deal for me to have to do that. It would have been bad for the rest of the employees to have to sell the business. Some of these bigger companies could buy you out or make a lot of changes or cut out things you’ve been doing for your employees. It was so nice for everybody concerned to have someone right there to step in without a worry.”
Jerry on Retired Life
Jerry has been retired for more than 20 years now, but he doesn’t mind. When asked what it was like to retire, he simply laughed and said, “It was great!”
Now, he doesn’t have any trouble keeping busy. “I always said I should go back to work so I’d have more free time.”
Jerry fills his days with yard work, taking care of the house, church activities, spending time with family, and going to the gym. But don’t let him fool you. He still works from time to time. “I still do some bookkeeping and accounting, and I have meetings sometimes. I’m still chairman of the board, so I do spend some time—not too much—with the company.”
Jerry also reflected on his life, past and present, and spoke highly of his family.
“Having six kids wasn’t easy at first, especially for my wife, but it’s so nice to have six kids now,” he said. “I’m fortunate enough to be in good health myself and have all of my kids and grandchildren really healthy.”
“My life has really been a joy,” Jerry admitted.
When asked if there was any advice he could give to others, he declared:
“Work hard and do your best to stay in good health by eating the right things and exercising. And just enjoy your family and your children that you have. That’s something you can be proud of.”