Third generation steps up at Mueller Graphics

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:43 pm

After leading the company her father started for 25 years, Marilyn Mueller, president and CEO of Mueller Graphic Supply Inc., has given partial control of the company to her daughter, Candace Leathers.

The company, based in West Allis, is a distributor of graphics arts supplies and equipment. It primarily serves the printing market, with customers such as Quad/Graphics Inc.

Earlier this month, Leathers became Mueller Graphic Supply’s president and chief operating officer. Mueller has kept her CEO and chairwoman of the board positions.

Leathers has worked in the family business for 18 years. Before taking on the president title, she was already making executive-level decisions.

“I do all of the buying and customer service,” she said. “I also take care of the credits. I make a lot of executive decisions with our sales people, and I run those past Marilyn.”

Even though she’s moving into the executive sphere, Leathers said she wants to continue doing as many of her former duties as possible.

“I want to be involved with our customers and involved with our suppliers and still keep up with my (current) responsibilities,” she said.

Now is the perfect time to promote Leathers to the president position because of how much the printing and graphics industry is changing, Mueller said. Because the businesses they serve are changing, Mueller Graphic Supply will need to change with them.

The company will likely have to expand its offerings to anticipate changes within the industry, Leathers said.

“We want to diversify into other areas, ease into it,” she said. “Things like flexography and flex printing and doing things more into a wide format are where the industry is going.”

Mueller said Leathers is the right person to lead Mueller Graphic Supply towards these new products.

“I took risks all my life, but as you get older, you pull back,” Mueller said. “I feel that Candy, as the younger generation (is ready).”

Mueller Graphic Supply has 26 employees. Aside from its facility in West Allis, the company has distribution facilities in Oshkosh and the Madison area.

The company was purchased in 1982 by Paul Mueller, Marilyn Mueller’s father. It was originally named Dark Room. When Paul Mueller suffered a stroke a few months after buying the company, Marilyn Mueller became its CEO and president, leading the company to its current size and customer base.

Because she’s been so involved with the company’s growth, handing over control slowly is the best fit for Mueller.

“It’s in my blood,” Mueller said. “My dad was a lithographer and the presses… I can’t let go.”

Mueller Graphics

Address: 11475 W. Theodore Trecker Way, West Allis
Industry: supplier to printing and graphic designers
Employees: 26
Web site:

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