But when Scheller decided to become a business owner, she read in the Wall Street Journal about Cartridge World, which refills and remanufactures ink and toner cartridges for printers, copiers and fax machines. The company says it saves money for businesses and home users who don't have to buy new cartridges, while reducing the number of cartridges dumped into landfills.
Impressed with the company's business plan, Scheller became a franchisee and opened Cartridge World Briargate in 2005. In May, it ranked No. 55 among 650 Cartridge World stores nationwide in sales, and was the top Colorado franchisee, according to Cartridge World's corporate headquarters in California.
Scheller was named Colorado Springs' Small Business Person of the Year on Thursday during a luncheon sponsored by the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center. About 200 people attended the luncheon at the Antlers Hilton hotel downtown.
The award has been presented annually since 1981, and finalists are judged on staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales, innovation and community contributions, among other criteria.
Scheller organized and became chairwoman of a Cartridge World franchisee advisory council. She also has become a Chamber of Commerce ambassador, helping the organization retain members. Also, she participates in the Department of Defense's transition assistance program that prepares military members for civilian life, and is a president of a local chapter of Business Networking International.
Scheller said her advice for other small-business owners is to surround yourself with the best people you can afford, and "duplicate yourself" in the business - make certain employees know their jobs, share your commitment and have a sense of responsibility so they work beyond quitting time or take on duties beyond their primary roles.
"Once you duplicate yourself like that in a business, then that's what gives you, the business owner, the freedom to go out and be a part of the community and to give back," Scheller said.
In addition to Scheller's award, Trevor Dierdorff, president of Amnet, a Springs information technology consulting firm, won the Colorado Springs Business Journal's Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Dierdorff was a co-recipient of the 2004 Small Business Person of the Year Award.
Chuck Bowles, who chairs the Department of Business and Real Estate at Pikes Peak Community College, was named the Small Business Development Center's Volunteer of the Year.