How Did I Become The Owner Of A Mailing And Printing Company?

Phyllis Robinette Burns President and Owner of Burns Mailing & Printing

That is a question that I asked myself sometimes, how did I get here? As most of are aware, life sometimes just happens.  I did not start out to be a business owner and when I started I knew nothing about printing except that I was married to a printer.  My career has taken multiple turns as I started out to be a nurse.  That was in 1961 and back then they would not let you get married and remain in school. (We did not have any civil rights in 1961) I was in my junior year when Ken and I secretly got married, but we did not like living apart so I left and we went to Florida for better job opportunities.  Both Ken and I worked at Cape Canaveral until our first daughter came along and we worked our way back to Knoxville by way of Atlanta for a couple of years. I stayed home with our daughters, as we now had our second child and that was a great time of bonding with my daughters.  After they started school I went back to work and my last job before joining Ken in the printing business was Vice President of Toyota of Knoxville where I ran all of the finance offices.  The auto business requires long hours and Ken and I felt like we were not getting to spend as much time with each other as we would have liked.  So I took a leap of faith in 1990 and joined Ken in the printing business.  That was what it was in 1990, just printing.  I had to quickly learn all about printing so that I could sell and assist Ken with things like estimating, writing job tickets and much more.

Some times doors are opened that you did not even know existed and the next door to open was because of ALCOA.  They moved their marketing and communications to Knoxville from Pittsburgh.  We started printing for them and they asked me who did fulfillment and I did not know anyone who provided that service.  Fools rush in where angels dare to tread, so we started doing fulfillment and mailing.  Did I know anymore about mailing than I did when I started in printing?  The answer is definitely not, but with the help of some knowledgeable people at the USPS, we got really good at mailing.  We added graphic design to offer our customers a one-stop convenience for direct mail.  Our customers like the fact that they have to come to only one business to get everything accomplished.

Ken, the love of my life, and partner passed away in 2014 from Leukemia, but with the help of my wonderful crew here at Burns Mailing & Printing we are still going strong serving our customers. We are a 100% State of TN certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE)

If you are looking for a one-stop convenience for direct mail give me a call at 865 584-2265 or email me at

2 thoughts on “How Did I Become The Owner Of A Mailing And Printing Company?

  1. Love this post and the story of how you and Ken were secretly married. You look beautiful, too – hair is lovely!

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