University plays role in attracting business

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sheila Johnshoy

Sheila Johnshoy 95, ePromos vice president

When New York-based ePromos decided to open a sales office, it chose St. Cloud due in large part to St. Cloud State University, said Sheila Johnshoy, vice president for marketing.

“The work force was strong and talented,” said Johnshoy ’95, who graduated from St. Cloud State with a degree in business management and international business. “We weren’t able to handle all of our leads. By opening an office in St. Cloud, it helped fix our capacity problems.”

ePromos Promotional Products, the fastest growing promotional products and logo merchandise distributor in the country, opened its second largest sales office in St. Cloud by hiring 18 people, including an inside sales, lead sales, bi-lingual (English/Spanish) sales representatives and sales assistants as well as marketing positions.

Johnshoy said ePromos CEO Jason Robbins believes strongly in two fundamentals: one is customer service and “wowing customers over the phone” and the other is to bring young people into the organization, let them learn and have an impact.

In St. Cloud, they saw a workforce that was well trained. St. Cloud bested cities in Florida, Arizona, New York and New Jersey, to name just a few, Johnshoy said.

“One of our criteria is that we wanted people who were articulate and the midwest is great for that. And St. Cloud is a mecca for call centers,” said Johnshoy who used to work for Fingerhut back in her college days.

Johnshoy said that the St. Cloud area is known for hard-working people. “We wanted people who had a strong work ethic.”

Johnshoy started hiring Minnesotans when she was working for ePromos in New York and company CEO Robbins was impressed.

We did our research and St. Cloud became our top option,” Robbins said. “I’ve been really impressed with the people from Minnesota — smart, with an incredible work ethic and great attitudes.”

Since opening the office in St. Cloud, Johnshoy said she has been greeted with open arms in the community, including a meeting with St. Cloud State President Earl H. Potter, III.

And while currently ePromos only hires employees with sales experience, in the future they may hire graduates right out of college and even students, Johnshoy said.

“A part-time sales force works out well for students.”

Meanwhile, Johnshoy, loves being back in Minnesota.

“I’m the only executive on the team not in the executive office.” She gets to visit New York for a week every month or so for business.

It was imperative for her to be located in St. Cloud and she feels fortunate to be able to spend most of her time in Minnesota. She and her husband, Michael Johnshoy ’95 grew up in Starbuck.

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