Linda Christopherson at Affordable Buttons

Rochester: Affordable Buttons

One of the largest button manufacturers in the country, Affordable Buttons continues to grow in Rochester

By Dan Emerson

Editor's note: This article is part of the Local Focus: Rochester feature that appeared in the May 2013 issue.

Entrepreneur Linda Christopherson has followed an improbable but inspiring path to business success. A 1994 home-schooling project Christopherson started with her three children has grown into Affordable Buttons, one of the nation's largest button manufacturers, with more than 50,000 clients and $3 million in annual revenue. The operation was recently recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. One of the catalysts for the company's early success was Christopherson's relatively early adoption of the Internet to reach customers directly. "We were the first button company to have a website," she notes with some pride.

Today, Affordable Buttons turns out 40,000 to 50,000 buttons per day in its 6,800-square-foot manufacturing facility. In 2011, Christopherson diversified, launching Image Splash, a provider of promotional print products. Looking back, she also credits the support of "our local chamber of commerce in helping businesses grow. They provide so many networking opportunities that it doesn't take long to feel part of the community when you move your business here, which is what I did 10 years ago."