February 3, 2010 > Scrapbook U
By Suzanne Ortt
Photos By Doris Nikolaidis
Stir together these traits of an entrepreneur - creativity, industriousness, business experience, organizational skills, a willingness to take chances, and Monica Martinek emerges. Martinek created, organized and now operates her own business, Scrapbook U, which keeps her challenged.
The genesis for this plan first began in 1996. Martinek attended a Creative Memories class at a close friend's home. She immediately was hooked on scrapbooking. Throughout the next few years, Martinek traveled extensively to scrapbooking getaways.
The crucial time came when she attended a 'Gotta Crop' workshop in Carmel in 2002 with two friends. She learned how many women are obsessed with scrapbooking. A few weeks later, Martinek decided Fremont needed a scrapbooking store. Scrapbook U became a reality on April 19, 2002. By November 2003, the store already needed more space and moved to its current location in Ohlone Village. Now a spacious classroom is available and a much larger selection of supplies fills the colorful store space.
This cheerful and energetic woman grew up in an entrepreneurial family. Her father operated a used car business. Then she married into another such family. Her in-laws and her husband Mark own a local business, Martinek Manufacturing. Because of her background, the positive aspects of independent businesses rubbed off on her.
In Scrapbook U, Martinek runs the shop with four employees, including manager Veronica Leggett. Duties include selling, displaying merchandise, and other retail chores. She also organizes classes conducted by several independent contractors, orders needed supplies, and handles the store's bookkeeping and paperwork. When time permits, Martinek teaches classes.
The store is open seven days per week. Monday through Saturday hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., except for Thursday when it stays open until 8 p.m. Sunday hours are from 12 noon to 5 p.m. In the summer, classes are offered for children. On Fridays, Scrapbook U regularly hosts 'Crop Night.' Cropping means to cut and size your pictures. From 4 p.m. to midnight, scrapbookers can work independently for a $10 fee.
Martinek's busy life does not preclude caring for her family. Martinek and her husband Mark have a son Talon and a daughter Brittany. Twelve-year-old Talon currently is wheelchair bound due to a broken leg, the result of a dirt bike accident. Brittany, their daughter, is a high school senior, busy with senior doings, college applications, and her teenage life.
Prior to opening Scrapbook U, Martinek worked for Newark and San Leandro police departments as a community service office. She attended Ohlone College, majoring in criminal justice, and at Cal State Hayward, she focused on psychology.
One contented customer, Kathy Amo, comments, "Monica and the Scrapbook U staff are amazing. They are very customer-oriented, knowledgeable about the latest products and offer a variety of classes for both beginning and experienced cardmakers/scrapbookers. The store is a gold mine."
The congenial staff, diverse classes and updated materials account for the store's popularity. Many satisfied customers make Scrapbook U a success. Although the economy has impacted the business, it still provides a needed niche for paper craftspeople.
Martinek has been happily scrapbooking for thirteen years and still loves it. To paraphrase the dictionary, obsession is the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, or plan. She considers scrapbooking a first-rate obsession for her. This hardworking business owner shows that the obsession is a positive attribute!
Ohlone Village Shopping Center
1610 Washington Boulevard, Fremont