How Millennium Press Overcame a Crisis and Near Closure

Millennium Press in manufacturing facility

Kelly and Jim Sullivan started Millennium Press out of a one-car garage back in 1989.

Their first big equipment purchase, a 2-color printing press – which went a long way to building the foundation to their business.  By the mid-90s, the operation outgrew the garage and the Sullivans were presented with an opportunity to purchase an existing printing company and the building at 570 Silver Street in Agawam, MA.  Following their dreams – the Sullivans took the leap and purchased their building.

Millennium Press was busting at the seams by the early 2000s, needing even more space and requiring more printing capacity to satisfy demand.  The Sullivans added another 15,000 sq. ft. to their building, while also purchasing brand new industry-leading equipment, including a Heidelberg 6-color press and automated folding system to keep building.  The growth in customer base and current sales, along with a booming economy – all supported the additional investment in their business.


Accepting the challenge of a crisis

Millennium Press consistently grew and was very profitable for nearly 20 years. Then in 2008 the global financial crisis hit, creating an economic emergency throughout the country –the American housing bubble burst, causing a ripple effect onto business communities. Kelly and Jim were faced with a huge decision to make…  

Do they allow 20 years of hard work go down the drain or do they fight and figure it out?  The Sullivans decided to accept the challenge – getting together with their accountant and attorney to put together a game plan, to consolidate debt and refinance their assets to position the business for survival.

In 2009 with the help of the SBA’s 504 loan program, they were able to refinance their debt over 20 years (including the building).  In 2012, the SBA also helped refinance several pieces of equipment over a 10-year span with the 7(a) loan program.  The Sullivans now had a plan in place, utilizing SBA’s programs to pay down debt faster than it was accumulating.

Overcoming near closure

By early 2020, the company was now able to refinance its building with a traditional commercial loan at a lower fixed rate.  They were approved in March, but the pandemic swept over all the progress made.  The building loan was now put on hold and Millennium Press saw half of its customers shut down.  Kelly and Jim continued to work but had to lay off a majority of the workforce; the situation seemed impossible to overcome and the business was near closure.

Millennium Press went from being a profitable company – to a company that was starting to burn through its cash at an unsustainable rate.  Then the SBA’s Covid relief programs came through and became a LIFELINE for the small business, allowing the Sullivans to utilize these vital tools:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provided a grant and low-interest, long-term loan for working capital;
  • Paycheck Protection Program was a loan that became forgivable if used for rent/mortgage, utilities and payroll;
  • Debt Relief Program which waived 6 months of payments for all existing 504 & 7(a) loans.  

“We could have never survived without the SBA's help over the last 13 years,” said Founder and COO Jim Sullivan.

Today, all of Millennium Press’ SBA loans are paid off in full and PPPs forgiven – except the Economic Injury Disaster Loan.  Additionally, all employees that were laid off, were brought back to work!  

On Monday, July 25th, 2022 – New England Regional Administrator Mike Vlacich and MA District Director Robert Nelson visited with Jim Sullivan at Millennium Press in Agawam as part of a tour of Western Massachusetts small businesses.

This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.